Thursday, August 25, 2016

Michigan Thursday: More Players Leaving

This has been a strange week for Michigan Football.  We have seen a couple de-commitments and a kicker leave the program.   Now comes more news:

First off, 2018 GA OG Jalil Irvin decided he would join the 2018 de-commitment party.  To be honest, I hadn't remembered he even committed.    So at this point and being so early, this is not considered a major loss.

Then something that has been rumored for months happened: true Freshman WR Ahmir Mitchell transferred.  Ahmir got into some trouble this summer and was currently suspended from the team.  The rumor was that he was expected to be suspended for the rest of the year.   He obviously wasn't a big fan of that decision and decided he could find greener pastures elsewhere. 

Good thing Michigan is happy with Johnson, Crawford and McDoom as Hawkins and Mitchell didn't even make it to Labor Day with the program.

You can also tell that we are getting close to college football and ESPN is starving for news, as the mistaken thank you note to Aubrey Solomon made the rounds on all the ESPN shows and outlets.

Football can't get here soon enough...................

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Michigan Tuesday: A Hat Trick of Leaving

I was starting to think things are pretty boring around the program right now as the sub seems pretty deep at the moment, then Monday happened. 

Monday was a interesting day for the Michigan Football team for it's current and future roster needs.   Michigan had one current player transfer and a de-commitment from the 2017 and 2018 classes.   The strange thing is, all of it was "sort" of expected.   Let's start with player that left the program. 

Kicker Andrew David:  Many programs handle kickers and punters differently.  Some don't even offer scholarships to those positions and expect walk-ons to cover it.   An example is, Michigan's top kicker and punter right now, Kenny Allen.   He was a walk-on but probably on scholarship now.   Andrew David the kicker with two first names was a red-shirt freshman or sophomore (depending on how you look at it) as he didn't see any game action last year.   He was originally a Brady Hoke commit and Jimmy kept him in the class when he took the job.   Michigan recruited hard the #1 kicker in the nation in Quinn Nordin in the last class and it was clear there was not much confidence in Andrew.  The practice reports were also pretty rough on the young man and going into last year there was serious concern with the place kicking before Kenny took the role.  With Kenny as a senior and Quinn looking to take the job after that, the writing was on the wall for Andrew and he decided to transfer to TCU.   Good Luck to him in Texas!

Next to jump off the boat was Ohio 2018 recruit, Leonard Taylor.   It is really a long time before signing day 2018 and it's not surprise that Leonard de-committed.   He committed very early to Michigan and insiders believed that Michigan would have to pretty much lock him in a room to keep him from de-committing in the future.   They were right and most expect him to end up in Columbus.   He is a very good player but Michigan has a ton of time to replace him in the 2018 class. 

To finish off the day and the hat trick of leaving was DT Aubrey Solomon.   Same as Taylor above, when he made his surprise commitment to Michigan this summer, most insiders believed he would not be in Michigan's class come signing day.   As expected, he pull the trigger on his de-commitment last night but will still take an official to Ann Arbor.   Insiders feel he is headed to Georgia.   It also seems that Michigan's recruiting team had a miss step with him as they sent his mom a thank you letter for attending the BBQ and miss spelled his name.   The issue is Aubrey didn't attend the BBQ.   Yes, that was a decent sized mistake and the loss of Solomon in this class is significant.   I also expect that the Michigan coaches understood his commitment was never written in stone and have plenty of backup plans.  With what I expect to be the best defensive lines in the country this year, I think a few players will be interested in getting coached by Brown and Mattison. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Michigan Monday: ND Has A Tough Weekend

The countdown begins, less then two weeks away from Michigan Football.   How does that sound?

The pre-season AP Poll came out yesterday and Michigan came in ranked #7.   I actually like that spot, Michigan still has a lot to prove to folks outside the program and I'm ok with anything in the top 10.

  • Notre Dame had a difficult weekend as 6 players got arrested in two different incidents over the weekend.  Senior DB Max Redfield was thrown off the team completely, senior CB Devin Butler has been suspended indefinitely, the other 4 players will be punished internally.   Max had been in trouble in the past and was sent home from the Fiesta Bowl.  Devin has a broken foot and was going to miss the first part of the season anyway.  A tip of the hat goes to ND, for handling this situation quickly and swiftly.  ND is ranked #10 in the AP poll and opens on the road against an improved Texas team.

  • KJ Hamler who is a slot recruit from Michigan (who transferred to IMG for his senior year) has torn his ACL.   Good luck to KJ as he recovers.

For you Monday motivation:

Friday, August 19, 2016

Michigan Friday: A Butt Above

Jake Butt is getting a ton of press these days, as he should.   He is one of the best Tight Ends in the country and his last name is very similar to the position he plays.  

ESPN took notice and did a nice write up Jake and his family.   They all seem to embrace their last name and even have fun with it on some custom 88 jerseys.

Even Jimmy Fallon and his "Tonight Show" writers have made their wisecracks over his name. Last December, after Butt claimed the Big Ten tight end of the year award, Fallon dedicated a full minute of his opening monologue to some rapid-fire, bottom-shelf humor.

"Other tight ends are mad, but they don't want to make a big stink about it," Fallon deadpanned. "Butt would brag, but he doesn't want to toot his own horn."

Jake on his last name:

"I love it so much," he said. "I think that's one of my greatest traits. It has really allowed me to grow my platform and build my brand."

His sprawling family loves the Butt brand, too. They're easy to spot at any Michigan game. As many as 50 of them tailgate together while wearing versions of Jake's jersey, sporting his perfectly rounded No. 88 along with a fanny pack full of puns.

His father, Rob, goes with either "Head Butt" or "Papa Butt." Other family members wear jerseys such as "I Like Big Butt," "Nice Butt" and "Kick Butt." One of Jake's aunts, Theresa, added an apostrophe to her name to make her jersey read "There's a Butt."

"We taught our kids at an early age to just have fun with it," Rob Butt said. "The whole family, we just enjoy the silliness of it."

  • Great story on Vincent Smith and Martavious Odoms making a difference with their gardens.

  • Glasgow limped off the field last night in the Lions second pre-season game.   Rudock threw a pick but did go 8-of-11 passing for 90 yards with a TD drive.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Michigan Thursday: Freshman Hype

This is the best time of year for practice hype, during Fall Camp you have your entire football team including all the incoming freshman.   This year has been no different and there are clearly two guys that seem to be getting a ton of hype: Rashan Gary and Chris Evans.

Rashan is no surprise as the #1 player in the nation.  Getting hype during his first camp/practices is to be expected.   The surprise seems to be all the buzz around Chris Evans. 

Chris was a 5'11 RB in high school in Indy and many recruiting experts expected his role might be at CB or Slot WR at the next level.   They weren't really sure how he was going to project to big time college football.    As you know, Jimmy likes to recruit football players and he knew that Chris was one and his speed could make a difference at a number of positions. 

Chris committed to Michigan early and got a late January offer from Ohio State, many thought that offer could flip the talented athlete from Indianapolis.   He thought about it and stayed committed to Michigan.

Now he is getting buzz as a Freshman that will make an impact this year at RB. 

Here are some tweets from a players press conference yesterday:

Both De'Veon Smith and Drake Johnson both mentioned Chris Evans as sticking out.
— Josh Henschke (@JoshHenschke) August 17, 2016

Mason Cole also praised Evans, says he really knows his stuff.
— Josh Henschke (@JoshHenschke) August 17, 2016

Drake Johnson, who is roomies with Evans, says he's "mad athletic" and smooth. Makes them say "wow."
— Josh Henschke (@JoshHenschke) August 17, 2016

We are also starting to hear that Eddie McDoom is very fast and could be a deep threat this year. 

The Big Ten network called Bredeson an elite freshman and a guy that should start right away.   He was holding his own against Gary in some pass rush drills.

True Freshman we haven't heard any buzz on yet includes: David Long, Carlo Kemp, Devin Bush Jr., and Khaaleke Hudson.

Something I didn't know:

Moe Ways broke his foot in Spring Ball but is back healthy now.  "Yeah, Moe hasn't missed a day," Harbaugh said. "Moe's done a nice job. He doesn't seem to have any ill-effects from the injury he sustained in the spring. The play he got hurt, it was a touchdown pass, and he broke the fifth metacarpal in his foot. But he's showing no signs of that lingering or slowing him down."

Moe is expected to see significant time at WR this year. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Wolverine Wednesday: Is Wilton Winning The Job?

The Big Ten Network watched practice on Monday and they came away with a number of observations.  Most of them we knew already but they are seemingly indicating that Wilton might still have a slight edge on the QB job.

On the rise: Wilton Speight. The 6-6, 243-pound junior QB looked good for most of practice, showing just enough niftiness with his feet along with a strong arm.

All eyes are on the QB spot, just like last season. There isn’t a lot of experience on the depth chart. But Houston transfer John O’Korn has starting experience. He is battling Wilton Speight and Shane Morris with O’Korn and Speight leading the way. In the end, I wouldn’t be shocked if Speight lands the job. He’s a steady force who looked good last year when forced into action. He moves well for a 6-6, 243-pound QB and he throws well. Speight just may be the guy when it’s all said and done.

We know Jimmy won't give up who the better QB is at this point.  It was clear Ruddock was the top QB last year and Jimmy didn't give up who was the starter until the week of the Utah game.    My take is that Jimmy feels that O'Korn is the better athlete and could get Michigan first downs with his legs and his arm.   Speight is more of the traditional drop back guy who is smart, will minimize mistakes and be a great game manager. 

I don't think the competition is over and we will see how comes out as the starter in a few weeks.

Here is the dumbest thing the BTN had to say:

More juice is needed from the ground game. I am not sure holdovers De’Veon Smith, Drake Johnson and Ty Isaac can provide it. The Wolverines haven’t had a 1,000-yard rusher since Denard Robinson in 2012. The last Michigan running back to run for 1,000 yards was Fitz Toussaint in 2011. Maybe a true freshman can help.

If Smith stays healthy, I think he hits 1000 yards easy.   With that said, who cares about 1000 yards?   I would love for Smith to be the yards leader, but if Michigan gets great outings from Johnson and Isaac that is even better for Michigan's offense.     If the Michigan offensive line plays like they did against Florida, Michigan's running game will show huge improvements.    We could also see someone like Chris Evans get some snaps for more a more explosive look.   I think Kareem Walker probably takes a red shirt.

This is pretty cool:

The staff was working out offensive lineman Michael Onwenu at defensive tackle. The guy is a load at 350 pounds and would make the front even better on defense.

Could be a great backup option at nose tackle and run stopper.   Maybe some goal line packages?  I hope they don't burn his redshirt for a couple of snaps but I love the flexibility. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Michigan Tuesday: Buzz From The Sub

Jimmy spoke yesterday and there was some news released.   BTN also spent the day watching practice as they do every year. 

As expected, Ahmir Mitchell & Shelton Johnson have been confirmed suspended by Jimmy and then by an official announcement from the athletic department.   He clearly does not like to talk about either situation and got a little upset and left the press conference.  No time frame was discussed and Jimmy let everyone know that it will be handled internally.

He is happy about where the QB play is right now and it further then they were last year at the same time.  

  • Reports from insiders and even Jimmy mentioned that Chris Evans is making an impact with his speed and athleticism.   Mostly at RB and Slot WR.  

  • Of course Jimmy mentions that Gary is good at football.

  • BTN and Jimmy called out the solid play of Ben Bredeson

Other notes from insiders (consider these rumors)

  • Kekoa Crawford and Eddie McDoom are making an impact with their speed.

  • Kareem Walker is at practice and might still be working through a minor issue

  • Ty Isaac is continuing his strong play from the Spring

  • Drake Harris seems to be healthy and added a few pounds this summer