Category Archives: Michigan Football

What’s Wrong With Michigan’s Football Recruiting?

What is wrong with Michigan’s football recruiting?  That is the familiar refrain from Wolverine fans following two “under the radar” commitments to Michigan in the last week.  I’m not sure why Michigan fans are losing their minds over the commitments of MI/ATH Ben Vansumeren and MO/WR Ronnie Bell, but clearly some are not thrilled.

Vansumeren is a three star athlete who was off the radar except for his commitment to Iowa, his offer list included a bunch of MAC type schools and the Hawkeyes until he recently flipped from Iowa to Michigan.  Vansumeren is a typical Harbaugh recruit, he’s versatile and loves to hit people which is why he could project as a TE, FB or LB.  The guy has the athleticism to be very good, flexible player for the Wolverines, but some nutty Michigan fans are not having any of it.  The star gazers are not thrilled that this guy is a three star recruit who literally “nobody” wanted and was on the way to Western Michigan before verbally committing to Iowa and finally flipping to Michigan.  My guess is none of them have ever seen the kid play are are simply upset that he didn’t have enough “start” next to his name.

If Vansumeren sent Michigan recruiting stargazers over the edge, imagine the meltdown when former Missouri State basketball (yes, I said Missouri State) commitment Ronnie Bell decided he didn’t want to play basketball for the Bears and instead announced he was heading to Michigan to play football.  Bell has zero….zero football offers as most schools expected him to play basketball.  Bell is a rangy but thin receiver who was one of the best players in Missouri, even though the in-state schools didn’t recruit him or offer a scholarship to play football.  Further freaking out some Michigan fans is the fact that Bell is Michigan’s only third two star recruit (outside of kickers) to commit to the Wolverines under Harbaugh.  The other two stars are offensive lineman Nolan Ulizio in Harbaugh’s first class in 2015 and RB Kurt Taylor in 2017.  I’m not counting kickers as they are considered top prospects as two star prospects.

Critics say Harbaugh can’t keep the momentum up because the Wolverines lost four games this season and that Harbaugh has lost his touch, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.  There are many reasons we could be seeing some lower level recruits and none of them are a reflection of where the Wolverines recruiting efforts are trending.  A quick glance at the 2018 recruiting cycle will show you there is zero loss of momentum with three players in the top 100 already verbally committed to the Wolverines.

The recruitment of Vansumeren and Bell could be as simple as Harbaugh taking flyers on very athletic players, it isn’t unprecedented. If you look at his previous classes, Harbaugh has tried to uncover guys nobody else is recruiting, every teams needs organizational depth and unless you are Alabama you can’t expect every four or five star player to commit to your program.  That comes after you win and win big.

The trouble with recruiting at a high level and not yet getting into the playoffs is that recruits aren’t flocking to your school but you can get enough great players to fill out your two deep.  The downside is Michigan can’t sell playing time anymore, so they will take a certain number of developmental guys who will hopefully be contributors when they are upperclassmen.  If these guys don’t pan out, you will see them leave as seniors or before to free up scholarships for higher prospects.  They are akin to placeholders and if they develop, all the better.  Most people don’t understand that scholarships are a series of one year contracts and turning over the roster is the new way of doing business in college football.

Rest easy Michigan recruiting geeks, the recruiting effort under Harbaugh has lost no momentum under Harbaugh, the 2018 class is a smallish, filler class that affords the Wolverines to take a flyer or two on a couple guys with tremendous upside.  Harbaugh clearly knows talent when he sees it and at this point, after watching the player development under this staff, I think we know where this is heading.  In the end, this class will still likely end up in the top 10 nationally.

 



 

What Shea Patterson To Michigan Means For 2018

Michigan is in hot pursuit of several Mississippi football players, in the wake of NCAA sanctions on the rebels.  The number of potential transfers to Ann Arbor has been estimated at seven, but sources within the football program tell me the number is likely three for the 2018 season.

The biggest name expected to choose the Wolverines is former five star quarterback Shea Patterson who was on Michigan’s radar in 2016 prior to his commitment to the Rebels.  Patterson was the one that got away from Harbaugh, but it appears he’ll get another chance to coach the talented signal caller.

Patterson started three games as a true freshman at Ole Miss in 2016 and was leading the conference while giving his speech with the equipment from Conference AV equipment hire.

While Patterson was granted permission to transfer from Ole Miss, it is still unclear if he will be immediately eligible to play at the school he chooses or if he will be forced to sit out a year before he can participate.

Harbaugh has wasted no time recruiting the Baker Mayfield type, traveling to Oxford this week by private jet to meet with Patterson without having the need of getting fingerprinted, Safety Deontay Anderson and others.  Rumors surfaced this week that up to seven players were considering Michigan but it seems unlikely the wolverines could fit more than 3 or 4 under the scholarship limits without serious attrition.

All-Conference OT Greg Little was also rumored to be interested but Rashan Gary’s mom tweeted on Wednesday that he was not interested and wouldn’t be transferring to Michigan.  Gary and Little became friends during their recruitment in 2016.  The scuttlebutt on a destination for Little is that he is strongly looking at Oklahoma.

Immediate eligibility is the focus right now as it makes little sense for Harbaugh to take Shea Patterson if he cannot play in 2018, it also wouldn’t do Patterson an favors either as he is expected to be a one and done no matter where he chooses to finish his career.  If he isn’t immediately eligible in 2018 and his goal is to enter the NFL draft in 2019, he’d be best served staying at Ole Miss and entering the draft next season.  Most experts seem to believe the Mississippi players will be granted a waiver to play in 2018.

The transfer of Patterson, safety Deontay Anderson and wide receiver Van Jefferson would be a boon for the Michigan football team.  Many think the Wolverines were solid quarterback play away from competing for a playoff spot and Shea Patterson would certainly bring at least “solid play” to the position along with an improving Brandon Peters and the arrival of redshirt freshman Dylan McCaffrey.  Jefferson and Anderson would bring much needed experience and depth to the defensive backfield and the wide receiving groups.

The transfer of Patterson alone is a game changer for the wolverines, it give them an extremely talented dual threat quarterback with SEC experience.  While Michigan’s rivals sooth themselves with the narrative that this means Harbaugh can’t develop his own quarterbacks, that notion is compete garbage and every college football expert will tell you the same thing.  Harbaugh may believe in Peters and McCaffrey but you simply cannot ignore the talent Patterson has already shown on the field to make a point,   Wisconsin showed that when they took a transfer from NC State….a little know guy names Russell Wilson who would go on to win a Super Bowl.

Even if Patterson does transfer, it doesn’t mean Michigan isn’t still committed to and excited about the guys they have on the roster, it simply means Michigan is committed to bring in the best players and letting them compete for the starting job.

If one of the current QB’s transfers out of the program, it is ok, every kid has the right to seek the situation that is best for their situation.  If Peters sticks around, he would still have the opportunity to start for Michigan for two seasons, as would McCaffrey and incoming Freshman Joe Milton who is a project.

Michigan’s pursuit of Shea Patterson is a good thing, it helps the program move up its championship timeline regardless of what rivals schools are peddling.  Anyone who tries to tell you Patterson isn’t a game changer for the Wolverines is a liar and at best disingenuous.




 

Sparty, There Is A Reason You Didn’t Get The Outback Bowl!

Sparty, there are multiple reasons you didn’t get picked to play in The Outback Bowl.  The biggest is right here, face it, you just don’t support your team and you ain’t that sexy.

The Outback Bowl took the more attractive option, they took a TV ratings magnet and a huge ticket sale over a regional program that many outside of the Midwest don’t pay attention too at all, even when you are making the playoff.

What is even more delicious was your total meltdown when somebody told you the truth.  The complete meltdown by the fan base and players over a meaningless bowl game only only reinforces the “little brother” tag and makes you look small.  You’ll never get out of Michigan’s shadow by calling for a boycott of every bowl that didn’t select you to play in it.  I’d hate to see what would happen if you got snubbed by the Dollar General Bowl or the Camping World Bowl.

Outback Bowl president/CEO Jim McVay:

“We’re tied in with the Big Ten and we’re tied in with the Southeastern Conference and both teams are loaded with excellent inventory. On the Big Ten side we looked at a couple of teams. The way the process with the Outback Bowl (works) is: We get our selection committee, our board. And once it’s clear who is available, we make presentations about each team and then (the board) votes. Whatever the decision is from the board and the selection committee (is) that’s who we take. We feel very fortunate to have South Carolina and coach (Will) Muschamp and the University of Michigan and Jim Harbaugh in our game. We’re excited about it.” 

Yep, they picked Michigan, why, TV ratings and butts in season, so simple even a Sparty can figure it out.