May 28, 2016 by Nick Bodanyi
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With the spectacular win today, Michigan has drawn first blood in the Super Regional.
It was going to be a blowout in the first. A runaway. A ring-a-ding-ding, they used to call it. Michigan loaded the bases with no outs, then got three runs across home plate. Missouri's starting pitcher Paige Lowary was flustered, and one more hit in that inning would probably have driven her from the game. But she escaped, somehow, with a 3-0 deficit and a half-inning to collect her thoughts. Lowary would settle down in the next few innings, and she made it through to the end of the game.
Whenever Michigan got in a blow, Missouri responded well. When Missouri found a bit of momentum, Michigan took it back. Few people, perhaps, would look at this game and immediately want to call it a perfect outing by Carol Hutchins' Wolverines. A drag-out fight, more like. But it was perfect, too.
No, not a blowout. That wasn't in the cards today - Missouri was just too good. It wasn't pretty, either. And it certainly didn't feel like this series would end easily and simply tomorrow afternoon. But today, it was perfect.
Michigan's lineup is one of the deadliest in the nation, and they showed that in spades. They also played unbelievable softball on the defensive side, too. There was a lunging catch by first baseman Tera Blanco in the fifth, and a sliding grab by center fielder Sierra Lawrence in the sixth - against Missouri's deadliest hitter, Emily Crane. The game almost ended on a double play that would have been worthy of Sports Center. Alas, Chloe Rathburn just barely beat out the throw to first.
They played focused. When the going got tough, they got going. It'd be easy to point out how Lindsay Montemarano came through with a two-run shot in the fifth after Missouri made it a 3-2 game, or how Megan Betsa fought through a pair of home runs to finish off the Tigers herself in the seventh. But there were also littler things - a ground ball that Sierra Romero ran out and turned into a single, a pitch that hit Tera Blanco in the back but didn't keep her out of the game for long, purposeful swings up and down the line-up, and a whole lot of great defense from Aidan Falk. This was a gritty, enthralling performance by Michigan's women.
This team is noticeably better than it was last week. They played together, they played determined, and yes, they played in a dog fight. Talent will always be on Michigan's side. But today, the hustle and grit were, too. That's perfect.
May 28, 2016 by EvanPetzold
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We caught up with the three-star prospect about his interest in Michigan.
Mekhi Becton, a Michigan recruit, does not have any leaders. The 2017 3⭐️ OT could possibly visit Michigan this summer.— Evan Petzold (@EvanPetzold) May 27, 2016
"I don't have any leaders at the moment," said Becton, who many presume the offensive tackle is leaning towards Virginia or Virginia Tech. "No one is standing out at this point."
Becton is looking for a college that will give him a good education, playing time and has a diverse campus. The 6-foot-7, 345-pound junior believes that he could get a lot of playing time from the start at Michigan.
"Because of their depth chart, I can have a chance to compete for a spot," Becton said. "I think my length and my punch are my strengths. I need to work on having more flexibility and getting my kick faster for speed pass rushers."
When asked about the possibility of playing for Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, Becton said, "It would be a very great opportunity."
Becton told Maize n Brew that he will not commit to a college before National Signing Day.
Believe it or not, the three-star recruit did not allow any sacks during his junior season for Highland Springs.
May 28, 2016 by Nick Bodanyi
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In one of the most action-packed weekends of the year for softball fans, we will focus on just one match-up in particular: the Tigers vs. the Wolverines. The Big Ten and the SEC clash today in Ann Arbor.
As the weekend opened, sixteen teams were left standing: Michigan, Missouri, Florida State, Utah, Oregon, UCLA, Alabama, Washington, Auburn, Arizona, James Madison, LSU, Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Louisiana-Lafayette. After this weekend, eight elite teams will remain.
But a tough challenge awaits before the Wolverines can claim one of the spots in the Women's College World Series. The Missouri Tigers (42-14) come into town on a bit of a hot streak to take on Carol Hutchins' Wolverines (49-5). Both teams are nursing ambitions of glory and legacy, but this will be the final set of games for one of them. The Tigers bring a formidable lineup and some good pitching to this weekend's rubber match.
|AB||R||H||HR||RBI||BA||OBP||SLG%||OPS||SB||SO / BB|
|Taylor Gadbois||CF||179||53||72||1||18||.402||.460||.453||.913||54-59||22 / 18|
|Emily Crane||RF||164||64||68||17||61||.415||.534||.829||1.363||25-28||7 / 38|
|Sami Fagan||SS||160||58||68||11||54||.425||.560||.688||1.248||26-29||8 / 44|
|Amanda Sanchez||3B||168||25||62||6||42||.369||.456||.530||.986||3-3||14 / 21|
|Chloe Rathburn||DP||170||26||56||14||58||.329||.374||.641||1.015||5-6||17 / 11|
|Regan Nash||LF||137||33||47||0||12||.343||.396||.358||.754||22-24||21 / 10|
|Kolby Romaine||2B||64||10||10||4||12||.156||.194||.359||.553||1-1||9 / 3|
|Kirsten Mack||C||145||29||37||4||22||.255||.368||.372||.740||4-4||15 / 23|
|Rylee Pierce||1B||146||36||47||7||29||.322||.431||.527||.958||12-13||33 / 25|
The Tigers have a .328 team batting average (compared to .356 for Michigan) and a 3.03 earned run average (Michigan's is 1.98). The combination of power and speed is very good: 70 home runs on the year and 163 stolen bases. Luckily, Michigan has a veteran catcher it can rely on in Aidan Falk.
It's also worth noting that no one in the field of sixteen is batting better than Michigan's Sierra Romero, who is one of three finalists for National Player of the Year honors. And, few have a pitcher with as high of a ceiling as Megan Betsa when all her pitches are working.
Still, at the end of the day, it's not about the talent; it's about teamwork and the tenacity to get the job done. Lately, Michigan has had that. They'll need to bring that same level of focus this weekend - Missouri is too talented to toy around with without getting burnt. Getting some of Michigan's slumping hitters back in a groove wouldn't hurt our chances, either. There's a reasonable chance that will happen.
Anyway, Game 1 starts today at 3:00 PM, with Games 2 and 3 happening tomorrow. Feel free to spend some time here for an open thread later on.
May 27, 2016 by Tanner Wooten
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Maize N Brew spoke with the Top250 OL from Fort Lauderdale about why Michigan made his top 6 and what his plans are to see Ann Arbor.
Kai-Leon Herbert, a four-star OL from American Heritage, spoke to Maize N Brew about his top 6 that he released today via Twitter, and let us know why the Wolverines are high on his list.
Top 6 Schools : Blessings & Opportunities pic.twitter.com/scypE9sFMs— Kai-Leon Herbert (@KHerb17) May 27, 2016
When asked why Michigan was at the top of his list, Herbert said communication was a big reason. "I'm starting to feel wanted by the coaches and they have a lot to offer."
"Coach Drevno stressed the need for O-line. They are making me feel like a priority."
The 6-foot-4 tackle has offers from Florida, Miami, Tennessee, Auburn, and Mississippi State, among others.
American Heritage, where Herbert attends high school, was home to 2016 Michigan signee Nick Eubanks, and the familiarity between the two "helps a lot."
"Having someone I've played with and someone I'm comfortable with is a great thing."
Herbert says he speaks to four or five coaches regularly, and that's another factor making a big difference.
"They show me what my life after football can be." Herbert said. "I am just starting to feel really comfortable and good with Michigan."
Herbert said he plans close in on one school in his recruitment soon, saying, "I am planning for a summer time commitment, but of course I have to feel 110% ready."
He mentioned he plans to visit during June 17th and 18th, and says he will "definitely visit officially."
May 27, 2016 by Anthony Broome
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Our first official prediction for how Michigan's 2017 class could look.
Jim Harbaugh and Michigan football are off to a strong start on the recruiting trail for the 2017 cycle so far with some big name recruits already committed and more still on the board.
It is never too early to take a look at how things may finish up, even with signing day still so far away.
So here we go:
Commits are italicized
5* Dylan McCaffrey (Littleton, Colorado)
Running Backs (3)
4* A.J. Dillon (Groton, Massachusetts)
4* O'Maury Samuels (Los Lunas, New Mexico)
3* Kurt Taylor (Covington, Georgia)
3* Chase Lasater (Jacksonville, Florida)
Wide Receivers (2)
5* Donovan Peoples-Jones (Detroit, Michigan)
4* Nico Collins (Pinson, Alabama)
Tight Ends (2)
4* Matt Dotson (Cincinatti, Ohio)
3* Carter Dunaway (Bloomfield Hills, Michigan)
Offensive Linemen (5)
5* Isaiah Wilson (Brooklyn, New York)
5* Tedarrell Slaton (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)
4* JaRaymond Hall (Oak Park, Michigan)
4* Henry Bainivalu (Seattle, Washington)
4* Cesar Ruiz (Bradenton, Florida)
Defensive End (2)
4* Luiji Vilain (Alexandria, Virginia)
4* Corey Malone-Hatcher (St. Joseph, Michigan)
Defensive Tackle (2)
4* Jay Tufele (South Jordan, Utah)
3* Phillip Paea (Berrien Springs, Michigan
4* Joshua Ross (West Bloomfield, Michigan)
4* Drew Singleton (Paramus, New Jersey)
3* Ben Mason (Sandy Hook, Connecticut)
4* Ambry Thomas (Detroit, Michigan)
4* Alex Perry (Las Vegas, Nevada)
3* Benjamin St-Juste (Montreal, Quebec)
3* Randall Haynie (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)
4* Jaylen Kelly Powell (Detroit, Michigan)
4* J'Marick Woods (Florence, Alabama)
So there's the first edition. This class looks like another 24-27 player haul and like last year, it will probably take some attrition to make it work in the end.
Have any questions, comments, concerns or just want to tell me how wrong I will end up being? Sound off in the comments below!
May 27, 2016 by Nick Bodanyi
Filed under Uncategorized
In today's installment, we highlight Michigan's running back recruiting, the ongoing influence in New Jersey, and one really awesome event coming in August to Ann Arbor.
'Battle Of The Big House' Unleashed
Here's another idea from Harbaugh that skirts the edge of recruiting news, much like his commencement speech at Paramus Catholic or his decision to participate in a national council on poverty. The newest idea? Fourteen Michigan high schools will play their first game of the season at Michigan Stadium from August 25-27.
"I don’t care if we make a penny," said the head coach of one of the schools, Clarkston's Kurt Richardson. "I just want the kids to have that opportunity to walk out on that field. It will be memories they will have forever. I think it’s awesome, and hopefully we can continue after this."
Running Back Recruiting Not Dying Down
The nation's #2 running back in the 2017 cycle, Cam Akers, has released his top-ten list with Michigan included. Obviously Michigan is already set up quite well at the position, but that hasn't stopped the staff from looking around - either for a replacement or an addition. For example, this week Ty Wheatley stopped by the neighborhood of three-star Tennessee native Chase Hayden, and Wheatley said the search for more athletic runners is still in full swing ($):
"He told my coaches that I am a priority for them," he said. "He said they are still looking for that all-purpose guy. Michigan is in my top group. I am looking to come up there sometime this summer still."
Unsurprisingly, both Hayden and Akers have the athleticism to qualify for that 'APB' role. I particularly liked this film of Akers busting up defenses Denard-style.
On a slightly more somber note, Wheatley also visited one of Michigan's current commits, O'Maury Samuels, to 'get on the same page' ($) regarding his recruitment. Samuels has since announced he will be taking some visits this summer to other schools to keep his options open. The four-star from New Mexico has gone pretty far under the radar to this point, so a little exposure and a few more offers should be good for him.
Michigan 'Moving Up' For Five-Star CB
We'll see how long we can keep this train of five-star updates going. Darnay Holmes, the five-star corner out of Calabasas, California, had this to say this week ($):
"Michigan is for sure moving up in things," Holmes told Huskers Illustrated analyst Mike Schaefer over the weekend. "Coach Jim Harbaugh is building a monster up there. My best friend David Long is going up there in June. Dylan Crawford is up there. A lot of California guys go up there. That shows Ann Arbor isn't a bad place to go."
David Long has been recruiting the nation's top corner pretty hard, and that more than anything is keeping the Wolverines on Darnay's radar. The two are extremely, extremely close - "blood brothers," Long called it.
Michigan Eyeing 2018 New Jersey Haul
Steve Lorenz has put together an excellent look ahead ($) to New Jersey's top recruits of 2018, but one story in particular stood out - that of five-star defensive tackle Tyler Friday. What is it about Friday?
He plays at another program (Don Bosco) whose head coach (Greg Toal) has bad blood with linebackers coach Chris Partridge after the Jabrill Peppers fiasco back in the day. Not surprisingly, Toal is another coach who is pushing his players to attend Rutgers' camp on the 8th. Friday has told me he's undecided on what he will do, which probably means he wants to attend the Michigan camp but is being pressured to do the opposite (he would not be the only one). We're told that Michigan's staff has a great rapport with Friday's family. He may visit this summer.
It's good to know Jersey's pipeline to Michigan is still in good shape, then. The players are the ones who really matter here.
McCaffrey On Upcoming Visit, Recruiting DPJ
Normally reclusive, the five-star Michigan commit Dylan McCaffrey gave an interview this week in which he said he'll be coming to Ann Arbor for the Aerial Assault QB Camp on June 18th. He also mentioned he is trying to recruit Donovan Peoples-Jones.
"I talk to Donovan Peoples-Jones a lot," he said. "I've been talking mostly to receivers and guys up front. I talk a lot with Cesar Ruiz up at IMG Academy and (four-star center) Brett Neilon. I've been talking to guys all over."
Michigan Getting O.V. From Isaiah Wilson
We all know Michigan is in good standing with five-star offensive tackle Isaiah Wilson, and that was confirmed yesterday when Wilson tweeted out his five official visits. However, two things I did not know: Wilson is 6'6.5" and 354 pounds ... and he's still athletic enough to play tight end. Unreal.
Top Defensive End Target To Attend Satellite Camp
Not a five-star, sadly - but the 6'5", 240-pound defensive end D.J. Johnson out of Sacramento, California is still pretty good. He ranks 151st in the 247Sports Composite in the 2017 class, and will be attending a Michigan satellite camp on June 23rd at Inderkum High School. This gives D.J. a chance to familiarize himself with the coaches ($).
"Coaching style and a relationship with the coaches is probably the biggest thing for me," he said. "Instead of having to travel across the country to find that out about Michigan, I will get a chance to do it at the camp instead. That's a big thing for me. I am excited to see them in action."
Johnson's situation is fluid, but some believe Michigan is in his top three as things stand today. Michigan also has Johnson very high on their recruiting board, possibly at #1 or #2.
Harbaugh Does It Again
Out of all the amazing things that Harbaugh has done, maybe it's weird that this is what blows me away. But after recruiting Carter Dunaway well before he even started for his high school team - a move that proved very wise - Harbaugh is now in wonderful position with Michigan legacy Will Mallory, an unranked 2018 tight end out of Jacksonville, Florida. I'll let Steve Lorenz take it away:
Michigan's scholarship offer to Jacksonville (FL) Providence 2018 tight end Will Mallory way back in May of last year was rather nondescript, as not much was heard from him before or after it.
However, we're hearing from him now, as the son of former All-Big Ten linebacker and current Jacksonville Jaguars special teams coach Mike Mallory has established himself as a national name on the recruiting trail. In May alone, he has picked up offers from South Carolina, Mississippi State, Alabama, Miami (FL), Louisville and Tennessee to name a few.
Harbaugh, you are irrevocably brilliant. Steve Lorenz recently put in a Crystal Ball ($) for the Wolverines.
Heavily Pursuing An Alabama Linebacker
Stop me if you've heard this before: a three-star linebacker from the deep south finds himself high up on Michigan's recruiting board. Am I talking about Texas native Kenneth Murray, who was mentioned last week when Chris Partridge flew out to see him twice? Or maybe Shanon Reid, the Floridian who's being recruited like heck to play SAM in Don Brown's defense? Well, I could have been. But today I'm talking about Oxford, Alabama native K.J. Britt, who admitted he hears from Michigan "three or four times a week" ($).
And if the Alabama connection tipped you off to a possible mention of Coach Bam, you would be right. "We talk often," Britt said of Michigan's offensive analyst. "He is like a mentor to me. We talk about everything... he encourages me a lot to be the best I can be in everything."
And about Jim Harbaugh? "He is different, but I like him." Yeah, me too, K.J.
Other News & Notes
Bleacher Report put out a wonderful - and free - bio of Michigan commit Josh Ross yesterday. A great opportunity to see the person behind the name.
Cass Tech's Donovan Johnson received an offer from Oregon - yes, that Oregon - and said in an interview with Rivals that a Michigan offer would vault the Wolverines high on his list ($). No offer so far.
Benjamin St. Juste has been a star of the summer camp circuit, and Rivals' Mike Farrell offered up a video scouting report of Michigan's future cornerback.
Michigan may be backing out of their satellite camp collaboration with Baylor due to the turmoil there. Baylor has also lost a commitment from elite tight end Kedrick James, but James seems enamored now with Texas A&M - and, according to Steve Lorenz ($), Michigan hasn't pursued him that hard.
Remember the NCAA's decision to rescind the rules limiting text messages? Well, early returns haven't been as bad as many thought.
The three-star commit shared with us the players on his list to bring to Michigan.
Michigan running back commit Kurt Taylor has been persuading Malik Herring, Jaquan Henderson and Deangelo Gibbs to join the program.— Evan Petzold (@EvanPetzold) May 26, 2016
Taylor committed on October 16, 2015, after being recruited to Michigan by Tyrone Wheatley. The 5-foot-9, 200-pound running back had offers to Miami (OH), Mississippi State, Cincinnati, Colorado State, Georgia Southern, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Mercer, Navy, North Carolina A&T, Rutgers, UAB, UNLV and Vanderbilt.
When asked if there was any chance Taylor would back out of his commitment to Michigan, he plainly said, "No."
Gibbs, a five-star 2017 cornerback, is being recruited by Taylor to join the Maize and Blue. Herring, a 2017 four-star defensive end, and Henderson, a 2017 three-star safety, are also being persuaded to join Michigan. Henderson and Taylor play together for Newtown in Covington, Georgia. All three players have offers from Michigan and are from the state of Georgia.
Regardless of if Herring, Henderson or Gibbs join the Wolverines, Taylor will embrace the opportunity to play for Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh.
"I am truly grateful for the opportunity to play for a coach that has the experience that he has," Taylor said. "However, playing for the brand of Michigan is bigger than the coaches. The tradition of Michigan and history is what I want to be a part of."
He will use his ability to break tackles, protect the quarterback and catch in the backfield to help Michigan's offense in the coming years.
Taylor said, "I want to develop as an every down back. I am a team player, so whenever the coaches need me, I will give them 100%."
The recently-offered Wynn says the schools that have offered are on equal footing.
Stephon Wynn, a 2018 4* defensive end, has no early leaders. He has offers from a handful of teams, including Michigan.— Evan Petzold (@EvanPetzold) May 26, 2016
"I am interested [in Michigan], but all schools that have offered are the same," he said. "No early leaders."
Many have speculated that Wynn is already leading towards Clemson, but he denied those allegations saying, "I do not even know what school I plan to sign with. I'm just going to enjoy the process and visit as many schools as I can."
However, Wynn does like the idea of playing for Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, which will probably be a huge factor in his commitment. He was recruited to Michigan by Jay Harbaugh.
"I think it would be very appealing because he has coached at the highest level and he knows what it takes to get there," Wynn said of possibly playing for Harbaugh.
The four-star recruit has offers from Michigan, Clemson, Appalachian State, Auburn, Duke, Florida, Louisville, Michigan State, Middle Tennessee State, N.C. State, North Carolina, Penn State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Troy, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest. Wynn also has an interest in Ole Miss, but has not received an offer. Living in Anderson, South Carolina, Wynn has the ability to stay in his home state by attending South Carolina or he could travel just about anywhere else to play college football.
The 6-foot-3, 250-pound sophomore said his greatest skill is, "the way I use my long arms and strength to diengage blockers." He also mentioned that he needs to work on haveing quicker hands and better explosion off the ball to get ready for the college level.
The three-star wideout caught up with MnB on Wednesday.
Joshua Palmer, a 2017 three-star wide receiver from St. Thomas Aquinas, has told Maize n Brew that he will commit to a college before National Signing Day. As a matter of fact, Palmer will commit to a school by the late stages of summer.
2017 3* wide receiver Joshua Palmer plans to commit to a school before National Signing Day. More precisely, by late summer.— Evan Petzold (@EvanPetzold) May 26, 2016
While he plans on committing this summer, Palmer said, "That could change depending on visits I go to."
The 6-foot-3, 190-pound receiver from Fort Lauderdale, Florida has offers from the Michigan Wolverines, Purdue, Syracuse, and Temple, but also has an interest in Michigan State. Palmer was recruited to come play for the Maize and Blue by Jedd Fisch.
"I am not sure what school I want to sign with at the moment," Palmer mentioned. "It changes [with] every offer I receive from schools."
St. Thomas Aquinas, with the help of Palmer, finished last season with a 13-1 overall record and were victorious in the Florida High School Football State Championship game over Viera by 35 points. The first matchup of the season against Booker T. Washington was televised on ESPN and St. Thomas Aquinas won, 35-3.
Palmer likes the idea of playing for Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, saying, "It would be great to play for a coach that has such a legacy at Michigan and in the NFL. The way he runs his team would be like the NFL."
May 26, 2016 by Nick Bodanyi
Filed under Uncategorized
A wrap on the 'most indispensable' debate, Brian Cole's destination and the strange hype for Mitch Leidner.
Hitting the Links Is Boring Today
I'll throw a little recruiting in here today. Five-star corner Darnay Holmes has two official visits in mind (Ohio State, Michigan), and there are also a few words on Jaylen Kelly-Powell and Deejay Dallas.
A good piece from ESPN.
I'll take a step back here and point out that not many teams around the country have three to five realistic candidates for this title who are all going to be All-Conference players, which is the most important and exciting lesson as this team gets ready for 2016.
This is some extremely small potatoes. But after the appalling officiating from last year, at least there's some acknowledgement that progress is needed.
Best of luck to the young man. Just when I got my hopes up for him at safety...
I think it's fair to call this one a formality; 2015 was probably the only year that Harbaugh could give his kids a trip to Florida.
In the long run, though, Harbaugh is going to be winning a bigger battle. To fight back at Michigan, other conferences are taking up the mantle as advocates for players' rights and reducing the "time demands" of student-athletes. Not only is this a good issue to address, regardless of who or why or how or when, but - as Donovan Peoples-Jones spending time at U-M Hospitals can attest - Michigan has more to offer outside the boundaries of Michigan Stadium than most other schools can rival.
Can the rivalry be over now?
I keep forgetting that Nebraska plays Oregon this year. That game will be lit, as the young people say.
Lawrence Thomas takes a bow in the fourth quarter of last year's game with the Ducks. Raj Mehta, USA Today
I've said it before: Jordan Fuller is going to be a terrific player. Fuller is constantly in the background of this piece about OSU's recruiting and the search for a Jabrill-like "all-purpose" defender.
A high school all-star game is no more; some finger-pointing ensues.
Stewart Mandel discusses a lot of things as usual, including one particularly interesting Vegas betting line.
I found myself absorbed by this first-person account of Urschel, courtesy of the Players' Tribune.
In other news, two reserve players have transferred from the program.