Saturday Scrimmage Video and Analysis 3/31



A little bit of a different look from what we saw a couple days ago. This is the ninth overall spring practice this year, and the third in as many days. Let's break it down a little lot.

• Well, the first thing you'll notice is this clip features 100% more Fitzgerald Toussaint than the previous one. No question he looks very strong. I don't see anyone unseating him from the starting spot. I've heard good things about Justice Hayes and we also see a nice run from Rawls in this video, but Fitz is just on a different level.

No question this offense will revolve almost entirely around Denard and Fitz. We're going to be a running offense this year, no question.

And yes, I did notice that nice little move by Rawls switching the ball to the outside hand, ala Mike Hart, around the 1:13 mark. Love to see that.

• Which brings me the OL. It's a little tough to really see how good these guys are doing in this clip. The camera is only showing us what they want us to see. And that usually means not much. And we're also seeing clips of plays that go well, which leads me to only believe what I hear from sources who are actually at these practices.

And from those sources, things with the OL are beginning to solidify.

Tackle
Lewan is as solid as solid can be a left tackle. No question there. Schofield is looking better and better on the right side. The real hope is that we can stay healthy, because backups in those spots are not where they should be. At all.

Guard
As we see in the video, Elliot Mealer is suddenly a veteran stud. Which is great, but I'm wondering what took so long. Omameh is also doing well on the other side. I suspect these will be the starters come September. But again, depth is an issue. Kyle Kalis to the rescue? He might need to be.

Center
A two horse race at this point with Ricky Barnum edging out Jack Miller by a couple lengths. Word is he's a serviceable center for what we need. He's no Molk, but David Molks don't grow on trees.

• On the run, Denard is...well, Denard. Borges knows not to mess with a good thing. Let Shoelace be Shoelace.

His throw to a well covered Gallon around the :50 mark was both very lucky in how it turned out, and ill-advised, I'm sure. Jake Ryan had a nice break on the ball and either misjudged it  or was just over his outstretched hand (I assume). A real CB/S there would turn that into 6. Props to Gallon for coming down with it and making a nice play.

• Good to see Marvin Robinson get a nice tackle on the very next play. The safety was obviously lined up close to the line, possibly in a 5-DB set. But as Lewan said, Mattison is throwing every kind of blitz package in the book at this offense right now.

Countess had a nice breakup in the endzone at 1:50. From reports I've read, he's the man at corner right now. A honest-to-goodness shutdown guy.

Honestly, our defensive backfield is maybe the one of the strongest units on this team. Corners especially. JT, Blake, Taylor, Avery...we're loaded there. Safeties as well.

• Everywhere on defense other than the line is looking very good. In this clip, when the D makes a nice play, it's more than just one guy. Linebackers are flying around all over the place. I don't mean to say the line is not looking good, but we all know what's going on there with auditions in full swing for the interior spots. Jibreel Black has been said as the best interior guy we have this spring. Ash and Washington are also in the mix.

Safe to say at this point, the DL has taken a big step back with the holes left by RVB and Mike Martin. Those guys were seniors and they played like it. Big Will Campbell is coming along, but he's not there yet. Word is he needs to get down. Good things are being said about Roh, Beyer and Clark, which is encouraging. Nathan Brink had a great spring last year. This year he has some work to do.

We'll get a much better idea of where we're at at the spring game. One guy not in the spring game b/c he hasn't enrolled yet is incoming Ondre Pipkins. He could see the field early the way things are looking.

• Tight end. Sigh.

Well, probably the biggest area of concern on the team. In this clip we see Moore get a grab, as well as Chris Eddins (93). But both caught the ball and were tackled immediately. Word is those guys, and the other six TE's being auditioned right now, are mildly warm and very cold. Some have flashes, but no one is standing out. This is a huge problem. With no real TE, this offense will need to adjust by utilizing more receivers...where we're also thin.

Howeva...

• Jerald Robinson is having a break out spring. A HUGE break out spring. As in...where this guy been all this time?! Word is we're not going to miss Stonum. We will miss Hemingway, but not as much thanks for JRob and Roundtree who's enjoying his move outside. With Gallon and Dileo doing as well as expected at slot, we have a real 4-wide look.

More to come as details and videos creep out of Fort Schembechler. We'll keep you updated.

Scrimmage Highlights, Hoke Presser 3-29 [Video]

Scrimmage highlights via mgodisney.


So what have we learned from this little teaser of a video? Bullets.

• Plenty of shotgun still alive and well in year two of the Borges offense. No surprise here. And the snaps looked clean and crisp from Ricky Barnum (52) and Jack Miller (60). I think competition for the center spot is still open, and will continue to be until September 1st.

• Denard is showing some good range at QB. Mixing the run and different types of passes. I like what we're seeing with Vincent Smith (2) and Stephen Hopkins (33) lining up in the backfield with Denard, and then rolling out for screen passes. I expect to see a lot of this from both of these guys this year.

• Devin Gardner has a rocket for a right arm. His touchdown pass to Jeremy Jackson (17) (the second clip in this video) was 55 yards in the air with very little arc. Nice throw, nice grab.

• Plenty of good defensive clips. Desmond Morgan (44), Jake Ryan (90), Blake Countess (18).

• Thomas Rawls getting some time at RB/FB. Although his clips in this video were mainly good defensive highlights.

Also from Thursday, Brady Hoke's presser.

MGoTranscript

Should College Teams Scrimmage Each Other?

Spring game file photo from 2010.
It's been a good spring so far for the Michigan football team. Based on the reports that have come across my desk, things seem to be humming along nicely after the first seven of fourteen practices. There are some major holes to fill along the offensive and defensive lines, among other battles, but it sounds like competition for those spots is as fierce as expected [offense, defense].

These next three days, starting today, will go a long way in helping the coaches figure out who the real contenders are.

Michigan practices in full pads today, no pads tomorrow and then full pads again on Saturday. This three-day stretch also coincides with the high school coaches clinic being put on by the UM staff.

It's an exciting time. As exciting as spring practice can be, I suppose. For us bloggers and fans, rumors and speculation can be fun. But what if spring could be exciting-er?

As Angelique Chengelis writes, Hoke has said he's in favor of scrimmaging other teams in the spring.
"I think that would be kind of cool," Hoke said Thursday afternoon when asked about scrimmaging other teams. "I've thought of it before. Whether we do like the NFL — different teams going to different places, interacting for two days, three days, off that model — I thought that would be kind of neat."
I have to say, I've thought about this as well. Not scrimmaging in the spring, but rather in the summer, during fall camp when teams are fully dedicated to football and not in classes. It's almost a little strange to me that it doesn't happen. High school teams scrimmage...when I played we had two or three scrimmages before the season began. NFL teams scrimmage. So, why not college?

Edward Aschcoff of ESPN.com's SEC blog writes...
Sure, getting to see your team kind of go hard at the end of a month of spring practice has its moments, but it's mostly a snoozefest for those in the stands. You usually don't learn a ton from spring games and the best players often skip them.

But what if the NCAA decided to tweak these games. Maybe, let teams travel to other stadiums and actually play another team? Put it on national television and we're talking more money to spread around. I know, it sounds crazy, but you have to admit it beats seeing Team A collide with Team A over and over again. It actually makes a spring game watchable!
Agreed about the conflicted nature of watching a spring game. You want to cheer when you're team scores, but you're also cheering against your defense that just got torched. I get it. And of course the TV revenue thing...

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney thinks television revenue would be huge, and it should all stay with the school or donated to charity (much like how UM's game is sponsored by C.S. Mott Children's Hospital). I also agree about that.

He adds...
“The good thing about doing something like this is that in the spring time, you don’t have your whole team there. Like last spring, for example, we were missing 31 guys for spring ball. So we were very, very thin. This year, we have more bodies on hand. But still, every time you practice against each other in a scrimmage, you’re 100-percent invested with your personnel, as opposed to if you go and scrimmage somebody else. You’re scrimmaging their defense, while your defense is on the sidelines. When your offense is out there, your defense is on the sidelines. You’re not 100-percent vested with what’s going on. I just think there’s something good with that.

“Plus I think a scrimmage would be a great way to further teach our guys and prepare them for the season  … to be able to implement your schemes against another opponent, and it could be against anybody. Obviously, I don’t think you should do it against a team in your conference. But anybody else … maybe the NCAA could put stipulations like it’s got to be a team within a 100 or 200 miles or something like that. Most everybody could find somebody to scrimmage against.

“I think it would be fun. I think the players would enjoy it. I think the fans would enjoy it. But that’s just one guy’s opinion.”
It may never happen, or at least not anytime soon. But I like the idea. Frankly though, college football has bigger problems to deal with...like figuring out a way to get the two best teams to play each other for a championship. But it's still something worth looking at. Personally, I think this could be something that could start on the conference level...like an agreement between two conferences to do spring scrimmages between their member schools...the B1G vs. Pac-12 Spring Challenge or something like that. Have it over the course of three weekends in April with alternating locations year-to-year.

Can you imagine this taking place back in 2008 when Rich Rod first took office? Bad news traveled fast when the spring game was closed to the public and held at Saline High School. Can you imagine live on BTN?

So, what say you?


UM Goalie Shawn Hunwick Suits Up for Columbus

In a very fast and furious turn of events, Michigan undrafted senior goalie Shawn Hunwick, fresh off his last game as a Michigan Wolverine in the 2012 NCAA Tournament just 5 days ago, found himself suiting up for the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets tonight as their backup goalie against Detroit. [DetNews]
"A crazy experience," said Hunwick, a Sterling Heights native, two hours before game-time.

"It's funny, people are congratulating me and I'm getting all these congratulatory texts. I didn't really do anything. I answered my phone and took the opportunity to come down.

It was Michigan assistant coach Brian Wiseman who contacted Hunwick, who was killing time this morning and waiting to go to class.

"He told me to get to the rink (Yost Arena) quickly," Hunwick said. "I thought I was going to the AHL, which would have been awesome."

No, this was better than the minor leagues.

So Hunwick got the news and hopped into his 1992 Ford Ranger.
He had to skip a class in order to make the drive down to that state down south. And when he suited up, he made Michigan fans proud.

Matt Ludtke / AP
Of course, not being prepared at all to take his talents to the pro level, why would he have any other gear besides the stuff he just wore 5 days ago? Of course, Columbus not exactly being a hot bed of hockey fanaticism, Red Wing fans likely outnumbered Jacket fans...but still. I salute a man who chooses to done the winged helmet deep within fortified Buckeye country.

Spring Practice Rumor Mill - The Defense

Yesterday we talked offense. Today...defense. Let's go.
Kovacs, Roh and Floyd celebrate a turnover last year against San Diego State.
I took this photo.
Defensive Line
No better place to start than up front where most of the attention is being paid this spring. And rightfully so – we're young and relatively untested on the interior. Filling in where Martin and Van Bergen left is junior Jibreel Black who's move from defensive end has been regarded as a good one so far. He's said to have the right size and mentality to hold his own in the trenches.

Reports are generally positive about Will Campbell. There are some pretty high expectations for his senior year. It's now or never for Big Will and I think he's well aware of what is being asked of him. Quinton Washington is also said to be contributing as well.

Kenny Wilkins and Richard Ash are veterans who are being asked to step up, and it's encouraging to hear that they are doing so. Nathan Brink, who made a splash last year as a walk-on who was contending for playing time along with the seniors is still not back completely from his broken leg, but is participating in some drills.

At the ends, it's widely reported that Roh is moving to the strong side for his senior year. He's put on about 10-15 pounds from last year according to the coaches. That will serve him well on the strong side I believe. At the weak side, Brenden Beyer is the presumed starter there. He will be pushed by Frank Clark.

One thing is for sure, no matter who is listed first on the depth chart on September 1st, there will be some heavy rotation among this group. It's been clear since day one that Hoke, Mattison and Montgomery are looking for cohesion and depth along the D-line. We're on our way to that, but we're not there yet.

There are some stellar recruits coming for 2012, among them is 6-3, 322-pound Ondre Pipkins, who many expect to compete early and often. Also, many expect 6-2, 217-pound Mario Ojemudia to end up at the weak side end position.

Linebacker
Returning senior middle linebacker Kenny Demens has looked strong this spring. But word is he's going to have to compete with incoming freshman Joe Bolden who's enrolled early. Bolden is said to have a leg up on Demens in terms of speed and just overall mobility. This is very encouraging.

Also looking really good this spring is sophomore Desmond Morgan. But Bolden is getting the bulk of the attention. Freshman Kalen Ringer is also looking solid, but is a bit undersized.

Jake Ryan is maybe one of the most impressive players on this defense. He makes plays all over the field. Rumors report that Ryan has been lining up along the line with his hand down.

Do you remember Cam Gordon? He's also getting some time at the SAM this spring. I really hope Gordon can make an impact given his size and athletic ability. He's capable of doing more than he has so far.

Secondary
We're in a better place with the secondary this spring than we've been in a very long time – I mean since, like, 2007 – which drastically underachieved, btw. This should not be taken for granted.

It all starts with 5th-year senior Jordan Kovacs. He's been stellar almost his whole career, and I expect to see him dominate at the safety spot yet again this year. He's having a nice spring, as expected. I think Kovacs is the emotional leader of this defense, and I want to see him take that next step as a leader.

Also at safety, Marvin Robinson is looking better. And freshman Jarrod Wilson is said to be coming along well with the defense given just a wonderful natural ability. His size and skill is impressive, but he's got a little ways to go because of lack of experience. No word on Thomas Gordon.

At the corners, we welcome back returning starters JT Floyd, Courtney Avery. But depth is a luxury we haven't had at this position in a few years. So it's encouraging to hear about guys like Delonte Hollowell, Blake Countess and Raymon Taylor all looking strong this spring.

Spring Practice Rumor Mill - The Offense

I'm making an honest effort not to just post videos and incoming recruiting posts around here. But with the recent influx of verbal commitments and good video content, it's been tough. However, there is football going on and therefore, we must discuss it.

There's no question that the rumor mill is alive and well coming out of Fort Schembechler right now with spring ball in full-swing. We're hearing a lot of interesting tidbits, so let's dive right in. First, the offense.
Tony Ding, AP
Quarterback
There seems to be little change in how Denard will be handled in the Al Borges offense - year two. Denard is Denard, and no one seems to want to change anything about how he plays the QB position. There's no doubt he'll spend his senior season doing what he does best. If he's getting looks at WR, they must be doing a good job keeping it a secret, because we're not hearing anything.

Devin Gardner is splitting time at practice between taking snaps at the backup QB spot, and also at WR. Word on the street is that he's looking as good as anyone they have catching the ball right now. I can't say he's going to be seeing any extended time in games at the receiver spot, but it seems as if the coaches want to at least explore this option in the spring and he how he looks. It will be really interesting to see how much they show us at the spring game.

Third-string QB Russell Bellomy has been looking solid. He must be, otherwise the coaches would not be so willing to test Gardner at WR. To be so haphazard with your backup QB is foolish unless you have a decent and competent third-stringer. And from what we're hearing, Bellomy is just that.

Offensive Line
The areas of concern, center and left guard, are looking a little clearer. Ricky Barnum is said to be looking good at center. His snaps are good and clean. But as we all know from watching Molk the last two seasons, the center does much more than just snap the ball. It will be interesting to see how Barnum is able to lead the OL. Also getting a look at center is Jack Miller.

Holding down the other question mark on the OL is senior Elliot Mealer at the left guard spot. Behind him...walk-on Graham Glasgow! Word is he's solid. At right guard is Patrick Omameh, no surprise there. And the tackles are on lock down with Lewan and Schofield at left and right, respectively.

All that said, I still think incoming freshman Kyle Kalis competes for a starting gig somehow. Probably at a guard spot. Maybe not for the opener, but at some point.

Running Back
Fitz is the obvious favorite right now at RB as the returning starter. Backing him up, however, it's a little less obvious. There's no doubt Vincent Smith is still very much in the mix, but his size is a huge limitation. The coaches have made it clear that they need/want bruisers at RB. Smith will be relegated to a third down option, or maybe a slot in some four or five-wide looks. Smith can catch and run with the ball, so he's dangerous in that regard.

Red-shirt freshman Justice Hayes has been said to have gotten bigger, and he's getting some looks this spring. As is Thomas Rawls at FB. There's also some hype for incoming freshman Dennis Norfleet, but he doesn't enroll until the fall.

Receiver
Roundtree is moving to flanker, as we all know. He and Gallon will be vital to the success of this offense in 2012. Getting some attention this spring is sophomore Jerald Robinson, who has had some nice catches in scrimmages. I also like what Dileo adds to this offense, but guys his size are not what what we really need.

It seems as if this position is maybe the biggest area of concern on offense. Is Gardner the answer? Can incoming freshman Amara Darboh compete? There's a lot we just don't know right now.

Tight End
Another trouble spot for the offense, no question. Senior Brandon Moore has been said to be doing well, but he's got a ways to go. Ricardo Miller is also in the mix, but is said to be struggling a bit. Moore is a better blocker than catcher, and Miller is struggling getting used to having his hand down.

I think a freshman is going to have to step up and make a splash. We'll see what newcomer Devin Fuchess can do when he steps on campus this summer.

We'll post some defensive rumors shortly.

Brady Hoke Press Conference 3/22 [Video]


Transcript via MGoBlog.

Denard Robinson BTN Feature [Video]

Outgoing: Michael Cox & Rocko Khoury

Michael Cox

Cox spent much of last season not seeing the playing field. Between Fitz Toussaint, Vincent Smith, Michael Shaw and Stephen Hopkins, Cox was relegated to just a few kickoff returns. He exits Ann Arbor with only one year of eligibility left. Greener pastures for Cox exist elsewhere. And apparently, elsewhere is UMass. Oddly, UMass is on Michigan's schedule as their 3rd game on September 15th.

It would seem that Michael Cox is looking for playing time wherever he can get it, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. You have to respect a guy who did his best to get on the field as much as he could here at Michigan, but for many reasons it just wasn't to be, so he's going to where he can compete. This is yet just another case of a guy who has good ability, but just seemed to get lost in the shuffle between coaching staffs and offensive schemes.

Cox finishes his Michigan career with 19 carries for 169 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Rocko Khoury

The 2012 and 2013 classes are rife with offensive line talent. But you can't teach experience, and that's what Khoury had...albeit in a typical backup fashion. Rocko was certainly going to be in the mix for at least one of the two open spots on the OL going into spring ball. His departure leaves us very thin at the center position.

As of right now, we have no idea why Rocko left the team. Rumors are that the coaches were not surprised by this decision. I don't know if he just didn't have it in him anymore to want to compete, or if he plans on going somewhere else where he can be assured of more playing time? Either way, this leaves the OL with one less experienced backup, but opens the door for one of the incoming freshman to be able step up into a substantial role with this offense.

Bo Knows...the Officials Were Wrong

Quite simply, a compilation of Bo yelling at officials – what he was certainly most notoriously known for. H/T to WolverineHistorian for the video.


Two-hundred and five pounds of twisted blue steel. No doubt.

Spring Positions to Watch

Gardner is still the backup QB, but is he too good to keep on the sideline?
We're two practices into spring football and position switches abound. Some are more obvious than others, some are a work-in-progress which may or may not really happen. But most, if not all, are worthwhile discussion.

First, let's look at what fancy nuggets the spring roster has unveiled. And surprise surprise, all of them have to do with the DE spot.

Official roster position changes
Jibreel Black has switched from DE to DT. Jordan Paskorz switched from DE to TE, Brenden Beyer went from LB to DE and Chris Eddins went from DE to TE.
 
The WR role
On offense, the WR spot is up in the air at the moment with the graduation of Junior Hemingway and the early departure of Darryl Stonum. So to fill the void at flanker, Roy Roundtree has been moved to that spot.

I am curious who else will step up in that department. I would like to think that Jeremy Jackson and Jerald Robinson would be the likely candidates. I think either or both could be poised for breakout years.

We're well covered in the slot with Drew Dileo and Jeremy Gallon still filling that role nicely.

However, there's rumors of Devin Gardner getting some looks at WR this spring. I am completely fine with this for two reasons. 1) It means he's willing to do anything to get more playing time, and with his 6-4, 205-pound frame, I'm all for that, especially at WR where we need big athletic play makers. He's got great athletic ability and he deserves to get more playing time. And 2) It means Russell Bellomy is getting more comfortable and versed in the QB role.

Offensive line
Two major holes need filling along the OL. Center, where David Molk earned the Rimington Award last year, which will be the hardest to fill. And the right tackle spot left open by the departing Mark Huyge.

And, now that Rocko Khoury has left the team, I think the center spot – while up in the air at the moment, will likely go to Ricky Barnum when it's all said and done.

Michael Schofield will slide from guard over to right tackle, leaving just one guard spot, likely the left guard spot open, where I think it's a battle between newcomer Kyle Kalis and senior Elliott Mealer.

Jack Miller is the wild card in my opinion. If he can impress the coaches enough to make a splash at center, that would have a ripple effect where Barnum would then compete for the LG spot. I also think Patrick Omameh is solid at right guard and of course Lewan is only going to improve at left tackle.

Defensive line
The only other area where we lose solid senior leadership from last year is the interior of the defensive line. Ryan Van Bergen and Mike Martin were asked to do way too much last year, mainly due to the fact that they were very good, and that we didn't really have anyone else who could contribute at the same level for any consistent period of time.

As noted above, Jibreel Black switched from DE to DT, where he very well could flourish. But the real question everyone wants answered is how good can Will Campbell be? The 5-star recruit has never really stepped up at Michigan to the level many had expected. And the most frustrating part of it is you just know that he has the potential to be great, but just hasn't. It would seem that the coaches are putting a lot of pressure on this spring. Not just because they want to see him take that next step, but because they need him to.

If you look at who else we have at DT – Nathan Brink, Quinton Washington, Kenny Wilkins and Richard Ash – all names we've heard of, but no one who's a standout player. I think Brink has a ton of upside given that he's a walk-on and he was already pushing the seniors last year. But clearly, we need all of these guys to step up.

The defensive end spot is seemingly well spoken for with Craig Roh, Frank Clark and Brenden Beyer. Roh will switch from weak side end to strong side end, which I am in total agreement with.

And, let's not forget about the six incoming defensive lineman who will certainly push these guys, if not outright contend for their jobs when fall camp comes around.

More on those incoming freshman on the way.

Al Borges Press Conference 3/19 [Video]



Greg Mattison Press Conference 3/19 [Video]


Transcript via MGoBlog.

Incoming: DeVeon Smith

The rapidly expanding 2013 recruiting board lives here.


Scout: ★★★★, #7 RB, #58 Ovr
Rivals: NR RB
ESPN: ESPNU Top 150
24/7: ★★★, #31 RB

The #1 rated running back in the state of Ohio has committed to Michigan. Yet again, Brady Hoke reaches deep into fortified Buckeye country to nab another 4-star rated prospect. Smith becomes the 16th overall commit to the class of 2013, and the 14th with a 4-star rating from at least one recruiting service. Not the biggest offer list I've ever seen, but there's one school on that list that will make any Michigan man's heart smile.

Many folks out there are concerned that this commitment could mean that Michigan is looking past Ty Issac, the #1 rated RB in the nation who also has Michigan very high on his list (along with USC). Its been noted that Hoke and Borges wanted 2 RBs in this class, and with RB/DE Wyatt Shallman already committed, we would seem to be good to go. But Smith has said that he doesn't mind having to compete for the job. And frankly, Shallman's size tends to be better fit for a DE or FB anyway. I don't see DeVeon's commitment scaring Issac away.

I really like Smith for two reasons. First, he's a lifelong Michigan from the state of Ohio. What's not to love about that? Second, he's holding an offer from Ohio State. Urban wanted him, and he's right in Meyer's back yard, and he picked Michigan. Smith is the top rated running back out of Ohio and seems to perfect fit for the pro-style offense Borges will continue to mold as we move away from the Denard Robinson/Vincent Smith style that RichRod/Magee crafted when they were here.

Other offers
Bowling Green, Indiana, Ohio State and West Virginia.

Other interest
Penn State

Hype video

Spring Practice Begins [Video]

Here's some video from yesterday's first spring session.


13 practices remain, including the open practice on Saturday, April 14th at the Big House. Unlike last year, media has zero access to practice sessions (Fort Schembechler is back). Not that we had much last year. We basically were able to watch about 30 minutes from one session a week. But it was better than nothing.

Last month, we looked way ahead to what to expect on offense, defense, and the 2012 schedule. We will have much more to dive into as we get closer to the spring game. We have some roster surprises, and some position switches that definitely need to be discussed. And of course, plenty of recruiting news.

We'll get to all those things, but for now, here's 22 minutes of Brady Hoke's Friday presser.

Outgoing: Isaiah Bell


According to ESPN's Mike Rothstein, Isaiah Bell is no longer involved with the program [Link $]
Michigan redshirt junior linebacker Isaiah Bell is no longer with the football team, a Michigan spokesperson confirmed Sunday evening. 
Those who follow such things know that Bell has never seen the field as a Wolverine. This, after being ranked as the #11 safety in the nation coming out of HS in 2009. Clearly, something went awry. I don't know any details as to why he didn't exactly pan out other than it's probably just another example of a guy being highly touted in HS and not translating those skills to the next level. It's a common story.

So given his lack of playing time and all indications pointing to no playing time in the future, it can be assumed that Bell is taking his talents elsewhere. I assume an added 2013 scholarship is now available.

Incoming: Gareon Conley

As expected, the 2013 recruiting board has been updated and lives here. We're a little late posting this as the announcement came on Saturday, but since I was out of town over the weekend, we're playing a little catchup.


Scout: ★★★★, #20 CB, #227 Ovr
Rivals: NR CB
ESPN: NR CB
24/7: ★★★, NR CB

Let the pillaging of Ohio continue. This week, it's 4-star cornerback prospect Gareon Conley who hails from Massillon, OH, home to the annual Ohio football state championship game, thus a regular breading ground for top football talent (i.e. Paul Brown, Chris Spielman).

Don't let Conley's size fool you, he's as good a corner as their is around. He's listed at 6-2...or 6-1, which is tall for the corner, thus would lead you to believe he lacks in agility. Not so says 24/7's Mark Porter:
“I think he may be the best pure corner in Ohio. His ball skills are second to none. His range and athletic ability are second to none. He can match up with the number one receiver. The trait that Cam (Burrows) has over him is he may be more physical. But Gareon is ‘twitchier’ in the hips.”
Rarely do corners step in and start as freshman, and given Michigan's rather unexpected turn of luck in the secondary since Brady Hoke stepped on campus, having young corners and safeties come up through the ranks could be more and more of a trend. Conley might be just the type of kid that makes an impact as a sophomore or junior as Avery, Countess, Floyd and other leave.

Being well stocked at corner now for the 2013 class, Conley does standout due to his size. You don't see too many 6-2 corners – usually 5-10 or 5-11. This does make him sort of a wildcard in that regard.

Other offers
Northwestern, Toledo, WVU

Other interest
Cincy, Indiana, Ohio State, Virginia, Wisconsin

Hype video

Hoke Speaks at Ohio HS Football Coaches Clinic [Video]

Thanks to emailer Josh for the tip on this video. Yes, Urban spoke at this even also, but I'm going to make you dig for that one. Given the national scope of Ohio's recruiting as of late, and Michigan's shift back to a regional focus (we're killing it in Ohio, btw), I can only imagine how some HS coaches felt at this event.

Enjoy.

Incoming: Michael McCray II

Here we go again. McCray has been added to the board.


Scout: NR OLB
Rivals: ★★★★ OLB, #44 Ovr
ESPN: OLB ESPNU 150
24/7: ★★★★, #10 ATH, #168 Ovr

Michigan has picked up yet another top prospect, this time one of the best outside linebackers in the country. Rated pretty much a consensus four-star across the board, except by Scout who doesn't have many of their 2013 rankings up yet. McCray is also listed by Rivals as the #44 overall prospect in the country.

But the best part...he's the son of former Ohio State captain Michael McCray the first. So, not only is he from Ohio, son of a former Ohio State star, one of the best LBs in the country, and a target of the Buckeyes...and he picks Michigan. That's gotta sting for any Ohio fan out there.

McCray also plays TE for his HS team, and a pretty good one at that. But given how our TE situation is shaking up, I doubt we'll need any further help there. But it's nice to hear he has that two-way ability. He's listed at 6-4, 230...or there abouts. That's ideal outside linebacker size. I think Shawn Crable or Victor Hobson with size like that.

Other offers
Arizona, BC, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisville, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, NC State, Oklahoma, Purdue, South Carolina, Syracuse, Tennessee, Toledo, Virginia and WVU.

Other interest
Sparty, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin

Hype video

Those Who Stay...

Michigan Basketball: 2011-12 B1G Champions

mgoblue.com
We don't really discuss basketball on these pages ever very often, but we sure do on Facebook and Twitter. What a job done by John Beilein, his staff and the young men who play basketball for the University of Michigan. A well deserved regular season co-Big Ten title. It was odd to have to cheer on Ohio to beat Sparty to help us out, but to see them lose it one their home floor on senior night made it all worth while.


Congrats mostly to Zack Novak and Stu Douglass...who have been the cornerstone of this resurgence the last few years. Their not the flashiest players on the team, but no one works harder, and no one deserves this more than they do. Their legacy will be hanging in the Crisler Center in the form of a 2011-12 Big Ten Championship banner. Not bad.

Here's to a great March run for this Michigan squad.
Carlos Osorio - AP