Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Michigan Tuesday: Thinks About Recruiting

Michigan is coming off a magical week of 2 football games and now the coaches are on the road to trying to cement the Wolverines 2022 class.   Michigan took an internal loss yesterday, as Director of Player Personnel/Recruiting Courtney Morgan is leaving to work with his best friend at Washington.  That will be a loss to the program for a guy that came home but was only here 6 months.  Tough loss 8 days before signing day. 

Right now, Michigan has the 14th ranked class on 24/7 and wants to close strong to get into the top 10.  Let's take a look at each position area:

Strongest Position Group in the class: DB

5 Star Will Johnson
4 Star Zeke Berry
4 Star Kody Jones
3 Star Myles Pollard
3 Star Damani Dent

The SEC is coming after Kody Jones and Michigan is still heavily involved with Keon Sabb who just decommitted from Clemson.   Could be some drama here but hopefully Michigan can add Sabb to the class without losing Jones. 

LB
4 Star Jimmy Rolder 
3 Star Deuce Spurlock 
3 Star Aaron Alexander 

DT
3 Star Ken Grant 
3 Star Mason Graham

The staff would love to add Cass Tech 4-star Deone Walker, but he seems to be headed out of state and has UK in a leadership position. He didn't make it for the OSU game but may take a midweek visit before signing day.  USC was going hard after Graham, but he got a visit from the Michigan staff last night and is 110% solid and will enroll early. 

DE
3 Star Kevonte Henry 
3 Star Ethan Burke 
3 Star Micah Pollard 

Nice haul for 3 guys closer to their floor then ceiling 

QB
3 Star Jayden Denegal 

Got a PWO instate QB Brandon Mann as well

TE
3 Star Marlin Klein
3 Star Colston Loveland 

These are 2 very Michigan Tight Ends.

WR
4 Star Tyler Morris 

RB
3 Star CJ Stokes 

Offensive Line
3 Star Alessandro Lorenzetti 
3 Star Connor Jones 
 

The holes in this class are very clear, Michigan needs wide receivers and are light on Offensive Line.  I'm not worried about the QB or RB position as Michigan is deep in those meeting rooms and can be filled through the portal if need be. 

Michigan is involved with two 5 Star OT's in Josh Conerly from Seattle and Kiy Goodwin from Indiana.  Most believe Josh will stay home and Kiy is headed to UK where he is committed to. Courtney Morgan going to UW, doesn't help the Conerly situation either.  

Michigan was looking to raid ND for WR's but with that staff staying in place those options seem to be dwindling.  

Michigan's staff job over the next week will be to keep the current guys in the class while adding a few pieces.  It seems some of the additions might have to come in February's signing day. 

  • Hutch earning a trip to New York as a Heisman Finalist is a big deal.  What an honor and the first Wolverine to be in NYC since Peppers.
  • Michigan Basketball is on the road to start the Big Ten season tonight at Nebraska.  Diabate is expected to miss the game with a non-COVID illness.  Let's hope Michigan can get better PG play. 

Monday, December 6, 2021

Michigan Monday: Still Smiling

How about the last two weekends?  Feels pretty good.   I had a weird thought on Saturday, Michigan had to cancel two final games to close out the 2020 season those 2 teams: Ohio State and Iowa.  

The non-original CFP committee really went out on a limb and made Alabama #1 which gives Michigan a match-up against Georgia in the Orange Bowl.   To me this game is just the frosting on the cake, I'm super satisfied with the Big Ten Championship.   Does this mean I want Michigan to lay down to the Bulldogs? Absolutely not, I'm just happy this team is playing with house money from here on out.  

We are 9 days away from the early signing day period and the Michigan coaches are on the road to try to ride this momentum and close the class strong.  

  • Michigan got a very big commit on Friday and which you have already heard.  Zeke Berry is now a Wolverine.   This guy is legit and will be a difference maker in Michigan's secondary.   Zeke was committed to Don Brown and Arizona early and then opened up his recruitment.  He is a 4-star Safety from De La Salle in California.  He is 6'0 and 195 pounds and ranks the 64th player in the country to 24/7 rankings.  He has offers from all the top PAC 12 teams including USC, UCLA, Wash, Oregon, and more.   Michigan didn't make Domani's final list but this is an elite DB class.  Welcome Zeke! 
  • Michigan Basketball also got back to its winning ways with a home win over San Deigo State.  
  • Miami's AD and Coaching search seems to be a huge cluster F.  They haven't even fired Manny yet. 
  • Oklahoma makes a good decision on hiring Venables 
  • Joe Brady gets fired by the Carolina Panthers.   He will have a ton of OC opportunities in college.
  • Joe Moorehead gets the Akron job.  Would he be a replacement candidate for Mario if he goes to Miami?
  • Big Ten QB's Adrian Martinez and Michael Penix are in the transfer portal
  • Ohio State's a year early enrolled QB Quin Ewers (the top-rated player in the 2023 class before he reclassified) is transferring to a Texas school.  He is leaving with over $1M of NIL in his pocket.  The move even surprised Ryan Day.  Quin was OSU highest rated recruit ever.  Quin has already done a visit to Texas Tech.  
  • Purdue will be losing David Bell and George Karlaftis to the NFL next season.  Thier participation in the bowl game is TBD. 
  • I need to look closer at the bowls, but nothing jumped out at me.  MSU vs. Pitt is an MSU legacy match-up, Oregon vs. Oklahoma may or may not have head coaches, Baylor and Ole Miss is interesting.   

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Goal Achieved

© Photo: Isaiah Hole Wolverine Wire

Even up 21-3, I was nervous.  My home was cold, chilly even and my t-shirt looked like I had been sitting in a hundred-degree sauna.   Michigan was clearly the better team and Iowa was struggling on offense, but I felt Iowa was still going to get a pick 6 and then TE Michigan to death to make this a close game.   

Iowa with all its troubles, came in with a very good game plan.   They shut down Michigan's run game, put Michigan's LB's in coverage and did their best to keep this game close.   They had 3 very good drives where it looked like the Hawkeyes would cash in for TD's.  Iowa only scored 3 points in those drives and struggled in the red zone.  If they put up 21 points in this game, the outcome might have been different or at least looked different. 

Michigan was not sleepy coming off the huge victory last weekend, they were so focused Gattis went deep in the playbook to call a tailback pass from Donovan Edwards that resulted in a 75-yard TD to Roman Wilson.   That and a great run by Corum was enough to beat Iowa but it didn't feel like it.   The 14-3 lead at half felt good, but not safe. 

One of the best traits of this Michigan team, is they play their best after half-time.  Which means the coaches learn, adjust, and put the team into a winning position.   That TE Boot play was killing Michigan in the 1st half and under other DC's it would have continued to kill them.   Not under Coach Mac's defense and he adjusted and shut it down in the second half.   

Michigan dominated the 2nd half and won the Big Ten Championship by a score of 42-3.  History made; Championship won!  No matter where or who Michigan plays in the CFP this team will go down in history of Michigan Football as Champions.  I could not be prouder of this team. 

Cheers

  • The coaching in this game was spectacular 
  • The players were focused 
  • Michigan's offense was ugly at times, but Michigan was not going to let Iowa win like Iowa.
  • Edwards perfect pass 
  • Corum is a home run hitter
  • Brad Robbins 61-yard punt was huge 
  • The blocked punt by CoJo was also big turning point 
  • Cade threw a few dimes and didn't make a back breaking mistake 
  • Luke Schoonmaker with a few huge catches 
  • Leading tacklers on D:  Ross, Gray, Hawkins, Hill 
  • Seltzer got his catch! 
  • Kolesar with the pick!
  • JJ had a good game and for a second, I thought he might complete that Hail Mary
Jeers
  • Was not a fan of Upshaw's 15-yard penalty
  • Michigan's running game had 211 yards but a majority of that came on a couple of plays
  • Offensive line struggled in this one 
  • AJ kept fair catching inside the 5 
  • Cade's pick was a bad throw, but a bit unlucky as well

I loved seeing Michigan on the trophy stand, it's been a very long time and this team deserves all its accolades.  Hutch should get a free trip to NYC and this team will have a date with probably Georgia on New Year's Eve.   The goal every year is for Michigan to win the Big Ten Championship and they did just that.   Every Friday, I've asked Jimmy to "prove it to me" and he and his team just rubber stamped it right on my forehead and it feels so good!

Go Blue! 

Friday, December 3, 2021

Iowa Preview


Time:
8:00
Location: Lucas Oil Stadium
Weather: Indoors 
TV: Fox 
Line Michigan -11


Dear Jimmy, 

I've been writing you letters every Friday asking you and your team to prove it to me that times have changed and that your team is different.  You sir proved that on Saturday without a shadow of a doubt.  I also want to thank you for your off-field decision making this week.  Donating your bonus to AD staff that took a pay cut is an extremely generous offer.   I also want to give you a heartfelt thank you for recognizing the young students that we lost at Oxford High School with a patch on your jerseys this Saturday.

In my entire life that was a top 5 Michigan moment great feeling having your team win THE GAME last Saturday.  Wonderful win, but I hope you turned the page on Monday.   There are plenty of examples of a team getting a huge program changing win and then failing the next weekend.   The latest example was MSU beating the current #2 team in the nation and then falling the next weekend to Purdue.  I've used the USA Hockey Russia and Finland example a couple of times, so I will spare you that analogy.   The bottom line is that Michigan's win over OSU gets diminished some if your team doesn't show up on Saturday night.   Playing for a championship is different and your team needs to be ready to play just as hard as they did last Saturday this Saturday.  

Michigan has never played in the Big Ten Championship game, so this is a new feeling and experience for your program and us fans.   It still feels pretty weird, actually.   I'm sure you feel the same.   I hope you went "Hoosiers" the Movie on your team this week to keep them focused on playing Michigan Football this Saturday.   Michigan's #1 goal every year should be winning the Big Ten Title and you and your team finally has its shot.  I expect the team to run through a wall and Iowa on Saturday night.  The other stuff will get figured out.  

I know you love my Friday advice, so I will continue it with Iowa this week.   Iowa plays old Midwest football.   They have a very conservative offense and win by playing elite defense.  If they win the turnover battle, they win games.  What this means is they want to play a low scoring game, that they can steal with a field goal at the end.  What Michigan needs to do is to play smart football.   What I mean here is run the ball but mix in a solid passing game.   The Iowa DB's love interceptions, so Cade needs to continue his smart decision making in the passing game.   If Michigan scores points and touchdowns, you will win the game.  Stay aggressive. 

Iowa is well coached, so don't expect getting turnovers and they love throwing to the tight ends.  I've watched too many Michigan - Iowa games where Iowa beat Michigan with TE throws.   The team that executes better will win this game.    Pressure the stiff Iowa QB with Hutch and Ojabo, confuse him with your zone and man to man defense.   Run the Michigan offense like we saw last weekend.  The one that ran the ball with authority and threw the ball to set up touchdowns.  If last weekend was a bad match-up for your defense, this offense is right in your sights.   I expect a huge game from guys like Brad Hawkins and Josh Rosh who have a ton of battle scars of falling short in making this game year after year.   

I don't have to remind you what is on the line this Saturday.  Time to cement your legacy and getting everyone in this program a ring.   Play to win the Big Ten Championship on Saturday.   Prove it to me!   

Michigan 28 Iowa 13