One Last Time, #16


I was going to put my full effort into a preview of tomorrow's Outback Bowl, but when it really comes down to it, tomorrow feels more like an ending than anything else. The the most integral component of the Rich Rodriguez era, and the beginning of the Brady Hoke era, will play his last game for the Wolverines tomorrow afternoon. Rich's legacy at Michigan, for me anyway, has been defined by the fact that he recruited Denard to Michigan, when no one else in the country would give the kid from Deerfield Beach, FL a chance to play quarterback.

I've been very privileged to be able to cover Michigan football during the time Denard has been here. Over that time, I've made the most of my opportunity by taking as many photos as I could of the things I've experienced. Every week, my camera would always try to find #16. I will certainly miss having this kid around the Big House on gamedays.

Here's a gallery I put together of some of the best shots I've been able to snap over the last 3 years of Denard Robinson.



While I fully believe that 2013 could be a very big year for the Michigan Football program, it's going to have to be so without the help of one of the most dynamic and exciting players to ever wear the winged-helmet.

Four years ago, after being on campus for just a few weeks, on his very first every collegiate snap, he did this...


Since that play, #16 has continued to wow Michigan fans like maybe no other player in history. He's not the best QB to ever play at Michigan, but he's certainly a special player...one of the most special of all time. That smile. His demeanor. The way he carries himself, always putting his team first. Denard's legacy is about as tough to define as it was to catch him. I assume it will come in time. But one thing that's not hard to define his how important he is to this team and the guys around him.

Tomorrow will be the last time #16 unlaces his shoes for a game as a Michigan Wolverine. He probably won't be lining up at quarterback, but that's ok. He's just as dangerous wherever he is on the field. It will be interesting to see what the coaches have planned for #16's curtain call.

I have no doubt Denard Robinson will be playing on Sundays. He's simply too good not to. But no matter what he does at the next level, he'll never be as special a player as he was at Michigan. It's been my pleasure to cover Michigan during Denard's time in Ann Arbor. Best of luck to Shoelace tomorrow. It's time to eat.


Hoke and Coordinators 12-29 Presser [Video]



Also, Al Borges and Greg Mattison.

Plus, players from both teams spent some time visiting a local Tampa children's hospital.

Outback Bowl Game Notes and South Carolina Scouting Report

The Outback Bowl is just days away, but with the holidays in full-swing, bowl coverage on this site has been sparse. That's all about to change. Here's some early game notes and a South Carolina scouting report to get you ready.

Game Info
#18 Michigan vs #10 South Carolina
Tuesday January 1st, 2013, 1:00 PM
Tampa, FL, Raymond James Stadium (65,657)
ESPN (Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden, Shannon Spake)

Background
The all-time series is tied 1-1, with Michigan winning the last meeting 34-3 on September 21, 1985.

South Carolina is coached by Steve Spurrier who is in his 8th year there. His USC record is 65-37 and his overall 23-year head coaching record is 207-77-2. South Carolina is 10-2 overall this season with a 6-2 record in the Southeast Conference. The Gamecock's two losses this year came at the hands of LSU and Florida in back-to-back weeks on the road. Their biggest conference wins were Georgia 35-7 on October 7th, and at Clemson 27-17 to finish off the regular season.

Scouting the South Carolina offense
Much like Michigan, South Carolina employs two quarterbacks who can both run the offense if needed. But unlike Michigan, both of them should get an opportunity to throw the football in this bowl game. Junior QB Connor Shaw is the primary quarterback, while sophomore Dylan Thompson is a more than capable backup who showed that when Shaw went down with an injury that kept him out of a couple of games this season. Spurrier said that he would decide at halftime which QB will go the rest of the way against the Wolverines.

South Carolina's offense is primarily a passing type of attack. Even with the capable Marcus Lattimore for much of the season, the Gamecocks struggled to move the ball effectively on the ground. But with Lattimore out from his gruesome injury against Arkansas, expect SC to rely even more so on their two QB's and stable of good receivers. Backup RB Kenny Miles has been filling in for Lattimore, but without their stud RB in the last 3 games, SC has only averaged 3.2 ypc.

And speaking of good receivers, sophomore WR Bruce Ellington is a certainly one of those. The two-sport star who also plays point-guard for the USC basketball team tallied 38 catches for 564 yards, leading the team in both, and second on the squad with 6 touchdowns. He is complimented by fellow WRs Ace Sanders and Nick Jones. What they all seem to lack in size (all under 5-10), they make up for with speed and quickness. These receivers will be a true test for a secondary that is down one starting CB due to suspension (JT Floyd) and some new faces on the depth chart at the safety spots (Dennis Norfleet).

Scouting the South Carolina defense
The Gamecock's defense is ranked 12th overall nationally, giving up only 312.3 ypg. Oddly, Michigan is ranked just one spot ahead, 11th nationally, giving up 311.2 ypg.

Without a doubt, the strength of this defense is it's front 7, one of if not the best group Michigan will have faced all year, and that's saying something. They have a very good pass rush, having notched 40 sacks this season, rated 5th nationally. The defensive line is good all over, but the standout of this group is DE JaDeveon Clowney who has 13 sacks of his own. He should be going up against Michigan's left tackle Taylor Lewan for most of the day. How Lewan plays against Clowney should decide how high his draft stock should be should he decide to leave early for the NFL. A lot of scouts will be watching.

The secondary is good, but has proven to be susceptible at times this year. Against opponents who USC bottled up on the ground, Florida, Tennessee, Arkansas and Clemson, they gave up 12 passing touchdowns and those opponents averaged 61.1 percent completion percentage. For Michigan, who comes into this game with Devin Gardner who has a 63 percent completion percentage and has tallied 251.3 yards per game and 8 touchdowns, that could be a potential bright spot for the Michigan offense should the running game fall flat.

For Michigan to win...
...they really must be hitting on all cylinders, especially on offense. What happened in the second half of the Ohio State game offensively, simply can not happen in this game. It will be imperative for Michigan to keep USC off-balance up front. If they can get the ball into Denard's hands in space, and exploit a possible advantage in the passing game, they might be able to pull out a win. Across the board, South Carolina is better at almost every position, and they are very well coached. But Michigan has played the tougher schedule, so it would seem that on paper, this could be a very close football game. Right now, I give the edge to the Gamecocks.

Not what you wanted to hear, I'm sure. So here's a picture of a bloomin' onion to make you feel better.

Michigan Santa Rides Again!



Like we've said before, Michigan Santa doesn't care what holiday you celebrate, just as long as your devotion to the Maize & Blue is true. There's no need to tell him what you want, he already knows. A top 3 recruiting class, a win against the Buckeyes and a trip to Pasadena are must-haves on any Wolverine's wish list.

Maybe next year.

It's slow down time around this site right now. Posting will all but cease unless something huge happens. To hold you over, here's a double-shot of Recruitaholics! See you later this week!

Ho ho ho! Merry whatever holiday you celebrate!

Recruitaholics: A Connection for the Ages

This Week's Dose #2:  Hail to Dymonte, And Another Offer Goes Out, OT, and THE Visit


I don't know if you'd heard, but the dead period began a few days ago and will run a week or so into January.  So unfortunately, recruiting news will be somewhat non-existent for the next few weeks.  But with the holiday season coming up, a little break makes sense.  So in that case, Recruitaholics may be sober for a couple weeks.  Please follow me on twitter @dwinslow09 as I will still tweet out any info that may come out during that time.  Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, please remember to drown yourself in some egg nog to help fill the void of missing Maize n Blue Nation Recruitaholics.  I know I will..

Hail to Dymonte

Just another reason S Dymonte Thomas is the man...
You all know my excitement for this kid.  The list of reasons I'm so high on Dymonte just grows by the day.  Guess what else he did?  Graduated High School today...Will be in AA following the holidays getting ready for his freshman campaign.  Who's excited?!


And Another Offer Goes Out

The lucky recipient of the latest Michigan offer is OL Sam Mustipher.  Mustipher hails from Good Counsel HS (MD); Blake Countess is a past Good Counsel star.  The staff has been in contact with the 4-star and like his ability.  He will likely be suited to play OG.


OT

Guess who has reclaimed the top recruiting class according to Scout???  That's right, Michigan! Good job everyone (I wouldn't have mentioned it if it weren't about the Wolverines)!  Contribute this to the commitments of Hill and Dawson of course.   Also, Tremendous had a chat with a prospect whose highlight tape you may have watched yesterday in Dose #1, '14 DT Bryan Mone.  He has Michigan as his current leader.


THE Visit

You've heard me hype this visit up that occurred last weekend, involving pretty much every current commit (I counted 20, but I ran out of fingers and toes after that so...) and also a few interesting prospects committed elsewhere, OL Dan Skipper and S Marcus Ball as I stated in Dose #1, for some time now and it finally arrived.  So I decided to let you guys see what every commit (or prospect) had to say about the visit along with some pictures. Annnnd we're off:

How about a picture of Team 134 all together to start:
http://distilleryimage4.instagram.com/0984ebf8486111e2b6f822000a1f8cdf_7.jpg
Image via here
TE Khalid Hill posing with Wyatt Shallman, who has an interesting look - Image via here

Image via here




http://distilleryimage3.instagram.com/c3ac3ed047c811e2b7d622000a1f968a_7.jpg
Morris already learning the offense. "Killer boots man!" - Lloyd Chrismas - Image via here



And members of the '13 class trying to sway Ball's decision:








The comradery here is very, very apparent.  A connection like this between a team is something that can't be taught.  Team's that are like a "Family" are the ones that will do anything on and off the field for their teammates to achieve Hoke's ultimate goal a BIG and National Championship. 

Recruitaholics: Man, We've Got Some Funny Coaches

This Weeks Dose: McQuay III Update, The Highlights Never End, Offers, and Sayonara Suckas

I know you've been patiently waiting for the new update and I thank you for that.  This is only the first half as there was so much info I didn't want to squeeze it all into one article.  Will have an in-depth look at how the biggest visit weekend of the year went last Saturday along with a few other tidbits.  So don't forget to check back tomorrow for Dose #2. 


McQuay III Update

S Leon McQuay has been busy taking visits and trying his best to figure out where he wants to play his college football for the next 4-5 years.  Here's some news regarding the 5-star's decision date:

I am a little surprised to hear this since McQuay III has already taken all his official visits and is planning on enrolling early.  But there was some good news in an article from Sam Webb, who caught up the McQuay family.  Mr. McQuay on Michigan's chances:
"I wouldn't be surprised if he chose Michigan," his father said. "The defensive coordinator basically sat us down and walked us through how he is going to be used. If that actually holds true, he is going to be lining up in different spots. He is expected to make plays. He has been labeled a playmaker. That's a lot of expectations, but Mattison has been doing it for a while so I'm pretty sure he can look at somebody and tell exactly what he is going to get out of them."
And what McQuay III had to say about Coach Hoke and his staff:
"Coach (Brady) Hoke is a real cool dude," McQuay III said. "Laid back. You wouldn't think he is a head coach if you didn't know it. Just a real cool dude. Coach Mattison is funny. I like him a lot. He is energetic. He is just a real good coach. And Coach Montgomery is a good coach too. All those coaches are funny, man. I just like them."

The Highlights Never End
I hope you guys aren't tired of watching highlights yet cuz they keep rolling in!

'14 DB/WR Damon Webb - junior season highlights - UM offer



'14 RB/LB Gary Hosey - junior season highlights



'14 DB Parrker Westphal - junior season highlights - has Michigan at top of list - offer


'14 DT Bryan Mone - junior season highlights  - UM offer 



'14 DE Joe Henderson - junior season highlights - UM offer



'14 TE/DE Garrett Dickerson - junior season highlights - UM offer



'14 ATH Adoree Jackson - junior season highlights - Michigan interest - may be one of the top players in CA when the final rankings come out:


'15 DB Tyree Kinnel - sophomore highlights


Offers

A new offer has gone out to '13 OL Dan Skipper, who is only 6'10 by the way.  Pretty small for a OL (sarcasm).  "Skip" is a current Tennessee commit, but the firing of Coach Dooley and his staff has him looking around.  He also visited this last weekend and came away very impressed.  Will have more tomorrow on how all the visits went last weekend.
  
'13 S Marcus Ball is a current Wisconsin commit who was offered by Michigan last Sunday, a week before he would make an official visit to AA.  More to come tomorrow regarding visits.

An interesting offer was extended to a teammate of current commit, Taco Charlton'14 LB/DE JaeSean Tate is already committed to Ohio on a basketball scholarship (also had one from UM), but I like that the football staff is trying to get involved and pry him away from the buckeyes.  I don't feel it's likely to happen.

'15 WR George Campbell is only the 2nd '15 prospect to receive an offer from Hoke and co. (KY RB Damien Harris was the first).  He is the high school teammate of OL Mason Cole and WR Artavis Scott.  Tremendous was able to catch up with the big receiver to get a reaction to the recent offer:
"I'm really happy to get an offer from Michigan, especially knowing I'm only the second player they've offered in the class. It means they really believe in my abilities and must know I can become a great player. I'm actually looking at visiting Michigan for their basketball game against Ohio State (ED: February 5th) with Mason (Cole) and Artavis (Scott). Both of them have had nothing but great things to say about Michigan and now I want to see it all for myself".
Cole currently has Michigan as his leader;  Scott and him have been said to be a package deal and that would be huge in helping land Campbell.


Sayonara Suckas

'13 OL Kenny Lacy was a hot name following David Dawson's de-commitment and even got an offer and had a visit planned for last Saturday.  He had to cancel his visit and has now stated that he is a firm UCLA commit and will no longer take visits.   

Michigan to Wear Special Unis/Helmets for the Outback Bowl

Here they are.

Can't say I love the unis. Actually not at all. Maize numbers are an interesting choice. Looks to me like the maize's don't all match up. I've been waiting for the day when Michigan would attempt a matte helmet. It's not bad. At least the maize isn't chromey like MSU's green or OSU's red when they played us.

#sigh

More photos here.

UPDATE: The unis and helmets will be auctioned off online after the game. Proceeds will go to the U-M Community and University Engagement Office. [DetNews]

UM release:
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The coaches and seniors of Team 133 and Michigan football's official apparel provider, adidas, have teamed to create a special white jersey for the 2013 Outback Bowl game against South Carolina on Jan. 1, 2013.

"We enjoy wearing unique uniforms for special games, and that's what it is for us seniors and this team," said senior safety and captain Jordan Kovacs. "It will be fun going out and playing for Michigan one last time in these uniforms."

The Wolverines will feature a white jersey with blue across the shoulders and down to the sleeve. A maize block 'M' will appear on the left and right sleeves of the jersey, and the player numbers will be maize with a blue outline, while the player's last name will appear in blue. The phrase, "It's Great To Be A Michigan Wolverine," will be stitched into the inside neck of the jersey and will be displayed on blue and white undershirts. Michigan will wear its traditional maize pants with the blue block 'M' on the left hip, with blue socks, and also will wear adizero 'M' Statement gloves.

In addition, U-M will don a helmet with a navy matte finish and traditional maize wings. The helmets and a limited number of jerseys will be auctioned off following the game at MGoBlue.com. The proceeds from the online auction will benefit the U-M Community and University Engagement Office that supports the community service initiatives supported by Michigan student-athletes. This will be a one-of-a-kind auction of game worn bowl apparel.

"I love them," said senior quarterback and captain Denard Robinson. "We only saw a photo of them early in the year, but I think they look even better. It will be fun, but we know we're going to Tampa to play a football game and a great team in South Carolina, so we have to stay focused."

Michigan is making its 42nd all-time bowl appearance and its fifth appearance in the Outback Bowl. The No. 19 Wolverines (8-4, 6-2 Big Ten) will face No. 11 South Carolina (10-2, 6-2 SEC) at 1 p.m. on New Year's Day in Tampa, Fla. The game will be televised on ESPN.

JT Floyd, Brandin Hawthorne and Will Hagerup Suspended for the Outback Bowl

Probably the last time we see Hags in a Michigan uniform.
Via UM media relations:
Michigan football senior cornerback J.T. Floyd (Greenville, S.C./J.L. Mann), senior linebacker Brandin Hawthorne (Pahokee, Fla. (Pahokee) and junior punter Will Hagerup (Milwaukee, Wis./Whitefish Bay) have been suspended for the Outback Bowl game against South Carolina for a violation of team rules and will not travel with the team.

"It is an honor to play football for the University of Michigan, and we have high standards and expectations for everyone that represents our program," said Michigan football head coach Brady Hoke.   "These young men used poor judgment in each circumstance, and these suspensions are teaching moments for our team."
Looks like we actually may need Dennis Norfleet to play CB now. This is unfortunate, especially for Hagerup, who's already on thin ice with the current administration.

Not to be outdone, South Carolina also suspended two players for the bowl game.

Incoming: Delano Hill and (Again) David Dawson

Joint commitment post are way more fun and efficient than just doing one at a time.  Take notes recruits!


Commit #23

http://a.espncdn.com/combiner/i?img=/i/headshots/recruiting/ncf/players/full/141481.png&w=350&h=254
Image via here






Meet David Dawson
Scout: 4-star, 188 OVR, #8 OG
ESPN: 4-star, 87 OVR, #1 OG
247Sports: 4-star, 108 OVR, #6 OG
Rivals: 4-star, 151 OVR, #6 OG
MGoHello 

He's back ladies and gentlemen!  All the way back in February, David Dawson decided to pledge to Michigan, making him commitment #8 on the season.  It was so long ago, that Brad was in charge of recruiting news still!  So I give you, Brad's Incoming: post on Dawson's original commitment.  Then we all know the story.  Dawson was one of Michigan's biggest recruiters (player wise) until he became a top national prospect and other teams came a callin'.  Next was a de-commitment when Florida really wanted him to visit, as highlighted in my Sayonara post a few months back.  

Dawson's recruitment really took some crazy twists and turns throughout the process (he had OSU, MSU, and Wisc. as his top 3 at one point), but after a heart to heart with Hoke and co., he was re-extended a scholarship and then decided to visit AA on this day (today), knowing that almost all of the '13 class would be visiting as well.  

I had a hunch all week, as I noted in this week's Recruitaholics post (as well as his senior highlights), that Dawson would end up pulling the trigger during his visit for a few reasons, and here we are welcoming the young kid back to Michigan.  I'm glad Dawson did it his way throughout the process and made sure that Michigan is where he wanted to be.  Welcome back, David!  Here's a few tweets from Mr. Dawson on his excitement to be back and once again, a part of Team 134:
Something Scary to Think About
Dawson now reaffirms and brings Michigan's OL class back to the top.  One 5-star and four 4-star commits in the class is already making Michigan's future opponents cringe at the thought of facing the Wolverines in the future.  But that's not even the most scary part.  Dawson has built a very strong relationship with RB Derrick Green and one has to think that the slight edge Michigan already held in Green's recruitment, has got to be more than slight at this point.  And Rivals Mike Farrell agrees:
 


Commit #24, and #2 on the Day

http://a.espncdn.com/combiner/i?img=/i/headshots/recruiting/ncf/players/full/151225.png&w=350&h=254
Image via here
Meet Delano Hill
Scout: 4-star, 270 OVR, #24 S
ESPN: 3-star, #23 S
247Sports: 4-star, #22 S
Rivals: 4-star, #23
MGoHello    

The talent that Detroit Cass Tech possesses is arguably the best in the state, and Michigan is reaping the benefits.  Hill is just another example, and the second example of the day after seeing Dawson re-commit (above), to pledge to the Wolverines.  Hill was previously committed to Iowa, but made the switch while on campus today.  ESPN's Tom VanHaaran breakdowns the commitment of both prospects:
"On a big visit weekend for Michigan, the Wolverines have picked up two big-time prospects in offensive lineman David Dawson (Detroit/Cass Tech) and his teammate, defensive back Delano Hill. Dawson, the one-time Michigan commit, was on his official visit, while Hill had only recently been offered by Michigan.
The two are big commitments for Michigan as they both come at positions of need, and they also happen to be very good prospects. Dawson is a four-star and the No. 1-ranked guard, while Hill is a solid three-star safety who had been committed to Iowa until flipping to Michigan on Saturday.

The two commitments now give Michigan 24 total for the 2013 class, and will likely give the Wolverines a boost in the ESPN class rankings as well. With the NCAA and Big Ten rules, Michigan is still able to sign three more prospects in this class. With plenty more options on the board, Michigan should be in good shape to land a few more top prospects"
And Scout's Allen Trieu gives us his analysis of what Hill can do on the field:
A good sized safety and a sure tackler in the open field. Does a good job of diagnosing plays, finding the football and coming in under control when attacking ball carriers. In coverage, he can play over the tight end and slot and cover man to man or in zone. Continuing to improve his footwork and quickness will allow him to cover faster slot receivers in the future. Good overall ball skills and athleticism to go with his size. - Allen Trieu
I think Hill is an under the radar player although he was considered a 4-star prospect by most.  Cass Tech's Coach Wilcher has been quoted saying Hill was the most talented of the 3 committed prospects (Lewis and Dawson) so that's definitely saying something.  His future position is not 100% set in stone; there's a possibility he is being brought in to play DB and not S, but that's something we won't know til he hits the field.

That brings me to everyone's next question:  Does this affect the recruitment of S Leon McQuay?  Now that Michigan has had a few players leave the team, a couple more spots have opened up in this years class (I'll have more on that in next week's update).  I believe, and have heard as well, that Michigan may be able to take up to 28-29 commits in this class.  So with 4-5 possible spots left (technically), if McQuay were to pick Michigan in a couple weeks, the coaches would welcome him in with tea and scrumpets (you can thank Lloyd Christmas for that one).


Other Offers
Hill had a total of 4 offers from Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, and Syracuse.  Since he was under the radar because of an early commitment to the Hawkeyes, ir resulted in limited offers.

Hype Video

The above is just from a few games during his senior season, click here for his junior highlights.


Something Scary to Think About
Hill is the fourth DB to commit to Michigan hailing from Cass Tech (Hollowell, Richardson, and Lewis) and with Michigan being in good position to pull in '14 DB Damon Webb, the Michigan defensive backfield could be an all Cass Tech unit.  And my head can't even process thinking of all the DB talent Hoke and co. have compiled in the last couple recruiting classes.  Take a look if you dare, but don't say I didn't warn you...



Classic MMB, 1986 Iowa Pregame


If you're like me, you find yourself spending way more time than you ought to watching endless videos on YouTube. And like yourself, I'm sure, one of my favorite things to do is watch is classic Michigan Football via great resources like WolverineHistorian, who has painstakingly cataloged hundreds of classic Michigan Football games. It's truly a treasure trove for any Michigan fan.

What Wolverine Historian is to football, MMBgoblue is to 80's Michigan Marching Band. The clip above, the band's signature pregame show from the Iowa game on October 18, 1986, is easily one of my favorites. I just love old unis, and the famous intro by Carl Grapentine, the voice of the MMB, and since 2005, the voice of the Big House.

The 235-member group that comprises the pregame band has honed and perfected their routine over the years. To the untrained eye like mine, it would seem like little has changed, if at all. Sure, the steps might be a little more in sync these days, and maybe the the notes are a little more crisp, but classic clips like these are great to watch. You can still feel the revelry even though it's over 26 years later.

The band often takes the backseat to football on gamedays, and that's probably unavoidable. But they're an integral part of what makes Michigan Football Saturdays such an prominent event.

And speaking of Carl Grapentine, this clip is simply wonderful.

Under the Lights: Part Deux, Harmon to be Honored as a Michigan Football Legend


It's official. Michigan will play Notre Dame in primetime on September 7, 2013. Also, Tom Harmon, Old 98, will be honored as a Michigan Football legend.

Maybe it's just me, but 2013 is already starting to have a special feel to it. This game will be huge.

Via UM press release:
Michigan to Face Notre Dame in Primetime, Honor Tom Harmon as Michigan Football Legend
Ann Arbor, Mich.
– The University of Michigan football team will face the University of Notre Dame in a nationally-televised primetime game at Michigan Stadium, it was announced Tuesday (Dec. 11) in a joint announcement with ESPN. The athletic department will honor 1940 Heisman Trophy winner Tom Harmon, installing him as a Michigan Football Legend during a pre-game ceremony.

The actual game time and ABC/ESPN platform for the Sept. 7, 2013 contest will be announced at a later date. This will be the third consecutive night game played between the winningest programs in college football history.

“Our athletic department is looking forward to recreating the night game magic from two years ago,” said Dave Brandon, the Donald R. Shepherd Director of Athletics. “We have more in store for this game than the initial night game and will work hard to create many WOW moments. One of those magical moments will be the honoring of Tom Harmon. He is one of the greatest athletes in school history and we are excited to celebrate all that he accomplished at Michigan. Having Tom’s ‘Old 98’ back on the field will be special. This will be a memorable evening for everyone at Michigan Stadium or watching the game on TV. This will be the final match-up with Notre Dame at the Big House for the foreseeable future.”

This will be the second-ever night game played at the Big House. The first came against the Irish in 2011, a 35-31 victory by the Wolverines on a 16-yard touchdown pass from Denard Robinson to Roy Roundtree with two seconds left in regulation. Michigan Athletics kicked off its Legends program with the honoring of 1991 Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard during that inaugural night game in school history.

Tom Harmon is regarded as one of the greatest athletes in school history. During his three seasons with the Maize and Blue, he rushed for 2,134 yards, scored 33 touchdowns and threw 16 touchdown passes. Harmon added 33 PATs and booted two field goals to his 33 TDs for 237 career points. After a four-year stint as a pilot during World War II, in which he won a Silver Star and the Purple Heart, Harmon married actress Elyse Knox and played for the Los Angeles Rams in 1946 and 1947. He became one of the nation's top sports broadcasters and directors, reporting live on major sporting events from the Olympics to the Rose Bowl.

In addition to Howard (#21), U-M has honored Bennie Oosterbaan (#47), Gerald Ford (#48), Ron Kramer (#87) and the famed Wistert Brothers – Albert, Alvin and Francis (#11). A permanent patch is affixed to the upper left chest of the game and practice jerseys of all future players that receive the honor of donning the Michigan Football Legends number. Each of the legends will be featured in a special area to be designed and constructed in the soon-to-be renovated Schembechler Hall. The lockers to be used in both Schembechler Hall and Michigan Stadium are customized to reflect the fact that those players will forever by recognized as Michigan Football Legends.

This will be the final meeting between Michigan and Notre Dame at Michigan Stadium for the foreseeable future. The Wolverines lead the series between the two rivals, 13-7, in Ann Arbor. Michigan has won six of its last seven games against Notre Dame in Ann Arbor, including two 38-0 routs in 2007 and 2003. The Wolverines lead the all-time series, 23-16-1.

Michigan Athletics will have additional announcements forthcoming about special activities around the night game with Notre Dame.

Recruitaholics: Might Need Some More Gloves

This Week's Dose:  Laser Rocket Arm, Wolverines Lead for Green, UA All-American Game Rosters, Playoff Action, Yes...Even More Highlights, How 'Bout Some Visits?, And Some Offers?, and its depressing but, Sayonara Suckas


 Laser Rocket Arm

http://distilleryimage8.instagram.com/c54c2844426511e2a03b22000a1f92d6_7.jpg
Image via here



Wondering who's glove this is and what exactly happened to make it rip to shreds?  The glove belongs to commit Khalid Hill who got together with fellow commit Shane Morris to have a little throwing session.  If this doesn't illustrate the unbelievable arm strength that Morris possesses, then I don't know what will.  You think Michigan WR's are going to be required to bring 3 or 4 pairs of gloves to each game?  Might be a smart idea in the future.


Wolverines Lead for Green

RB Derrick Green is one of Michigan's top targets still on the board, as you know.  And today, some good news came in for Hoke and company regarding the #1 running back in the '13 class (Rivals).  Mike Farrell attended the US Army Player of the Year Tour that's going on this week and was able to speak with Green, who joined Farell for dinner telling him "Michigan has a slight edge. ($)"  This seemed to be the case as of late so not super surprised here;  Feels good to finally hear it straight from Derrick himself though.


UA All-American Game Rosters

The two rosters for one the top High School All-Star games were released on an ESPNU Recruiting Special on Wednesday.  Michigan has 5 commits in the game (Morris, McCray, Poggi, Kugler, Tuley-Tillman) and what do ya know, they all ended on Team Nitro coached by former 49ers head coach Steve Mariucci.  Go figure.  The game will be played on January 4th.

Other's of notice on Team Nitro:
OL David Dawson
WR LaQuon Treadwell
RB Ty Isaac
OL Na'Ty Rodgers
OL Cameron Hunt

Team Highlight
S Leon McQuay III


Playoff Action

'13 S James Crawford has been a hot name of late.  He is the nephew of Charles Woodson and should an offer come his way, seems he will pull the trigger on the spot.  His HS team, however, was up against a tough opponent on Friday in Manatee (FL), the #1 team nationally.  And guess what? St. Thomas Aquinas pulled off the upset in impressive fashion, 35-18, advancing to the state final.  Crawford contributed 6 tackles and 2 pass deflections while not allowing a catch all night.  


Yes...Even More Highlights

Jake Butt senior season highlight


Michael Ferns junior season highlight - Kid is an animal!

OL David Dawson - senior year highlights


'14 WR Dionte Sykes - junior season highlight - The quickness he possesses at his height (6'4") is remarkable.  Has an offer from the Wolverines.



'14 RB Ronnie Hilliman - junior season highlights - also listed a top ten over the week, in no specific order, of OSU, Rutgers, Wisc., ND, Michigan, UNC, Oregon, 'Bama, LSU, and BC.
 


'14 QB Andrew Ford - junior season highlights

'15 ATH John Kelly - sophomore season highlights

'15 WR George Campbell - sophomore season highlights


How 'Bout Some Visits?

'13 (primary recruiting coach after dash if known)
WR C'sonte York - Coach Jackson
OL Logan Tuley-Tillman - Coach Borges - he also picked up Core 6 Athlete's Lineman of the Year
http://distilleryimage3.instagram.com/44ff3f403f5511e294a422000a1f9874_7.jpg
Image via here

DL Maurice Hurst, Jr. - Coach Mallory
DL Henri Poggi 
DB Reon Dawson - Coach Smith - will visit AA this week 

'14
OL Mason Cole - Coach Montgomery - Tremendous
WR Artavis Scott - Coach Montgomery - Tremendous
WR Dominique Booth - next week
OL Jamarco Jones
OL Sam Mustipher - Coach Mallory - Tremendous
LB/DE Melvin Keihn - teammate of Henri Poggi
LB Dorian Hendrix - Tremendous

'15
WR George Campbell - Coach Montgomery - teammates of OL Mason Cole and WR Artavis Scott - Tremendous
ATH Jordan Christian
DB Tyree Kinnel

Newly offered OL Cameron Hunt was scheduled to be in Ann Arbor next Saturday, Dec. 14th reports Clint Brewster, but due to the success of his HS team in the CA playoffs, he is going to have to re-schedule. This hurts because having him on campus for the first time with the rest of Team 134 (most commits will be on campus that weekend) would've been a big advantage.  Good sign?  Sam Webb confirms that Hunt has already rescheduled and will visit in January

Someone who will definitely make the trip next weekend is OL David Dawson.  He's already excited to see his past future teammates:
And I think the excitement will get to him, possibly pushing him to re-commit to the Wolverines.  Add this to the fact that only one OL spot remains, and it seems more than likely.

And Some Offers?

'13 MI OL Kenny Finley - current MSU commit.  Played at Detroit Cass Tech.
'13 OH CB Reon Dawson - teammate of current commit Mike McCray
'13 OL Dan Samuelson - current Nebraska commit
'14 RB Joe Mixon - at 6'2 195 lbs. and a year left to develop, I don't see how he won't be one of the top RB's in this class.  Here's his highlights.



Sayonara Suckas

'14 OL Jimmy Byrne has committed to the Fighting Irish.  Byrne had Michigan's interest, but no offer was given.

#77, All-American


There's just something about #77 at Michigan. For me, it ranks right up there with the #1 jersey for a WR in terms of how much it means to that position. You think of #77, you think of dominant offensive lineman, tackles specifically.

Jon Jansen, Jake Long, and now Taylor Lewan. All wore 77. All are All-Americans.

I've snapped some nice shots of Lewan over the last couple of years. So here's a gallery of some of my favs.

Join Our MBN/Moe's Bowl Pickem League


Its that time of year again! Time to sign up for the Maize & Blue Nation/Moe Sport Shops bowl pickem league.

After hosting our regular season league on Yahoo, with mixed results, we're back to hosting the bowl league on ESPN. Of course, our great partners at Moe Sport Shops in Ann Arbor have again agreed to sponsor this event with prizes for the top 3 finishers.

1st place: $50 Moe's gift card
2nd place: $25 Moe's gift card
3rd place: t-shirt

Get in the action now:
http://games.espn.go.com/college-bowl-mania/en/group?groupID=4781

On mobile: http://games.espn.go.com/college-bowl-mania/en/m/group?groupID=4781

Group: Maize & Bowl Nation
Password: shoelace

If you have any questions, email me at brad at maizenbluenation dot com. Good luck and happy picking!

Recruitaholics: Barkeep! 1 Shot of Attrition Please

This Week: Commits in Action, Rivals100 Update, Big Visit Weekend, More Highlights, In-Home Visits and Offers, OT


Let's start with some news that affected both the recruiting world and the current team.  RB Stephen Hopkins has left the program.  After reading Brad's recation, you're probably wondering how this affects recruiting.  Let me tell ya.  Technically, the '13 class only had 22 open scholarships and therefore, we were already at the limit, having 22 commits.  Now, the staff was still planning on capping it at 25, figuring in yearly attrition, and this just gets us 1 spot closer to hitting that mark.  Not taking anything away from Hopkins, I always liked the kid and wish him the best, but just trying to find a positive out of the situation...Get off my back already!!!

Moving On...

Commits In Action

DB Channing Stribling was a key part to Butler's (NC) win over Jack (NC) last weekend and it all happened in the first quarter.  He started it off with a TD and then later added an INT as his team rolled 56-28.


LB Mike McCray contributed 9 tackles in his last game as a HS senior.  Trotwood-Madison lost to Central Catholic in a nail-biter 16-12.  You know the next line...Next time we see McCray, it will be in a winged helmet.  Joining McCray, LB Michael Ferns ended an outstanding season over the weekend although it didn't end the way he wanted.  St. Clairsville fell to Clinton Massie 46-36 in the state championship.  Ferns will have another shot next year. 

Had to add this:  RB Jalen Hurd, who listed UM in his top 10 a few months ago, rushed for 394 yards and 7 TD's in his game on Friday.  Holy Meatballs!


Rivals100 Update

The long awaited update, and truest to date, of the 2013 Rivals100 is finally here.  Main reason I say truest: these rankings reflect how each recruit performed on the field, and let's be honest...that is what matters people!  Here's where the current commits (and a prospect or two) stand after their senior season:

#10 5-star WR LaQuon Treadwell
#14 5-star RB Derrick Green
#19 5-star S Leon McQuay
#25 5-star QB Shane Morris
#68 4-star DL Henri Poggi
#79 4-star OL Patrick Kugler
#88 4-star LB Mike McCray
#99 4-star OL Kyle Bosch

Surprise: Shane Morris.  After missing almost the entire season due to mono, one would figure a drop was in order for the southpaw.  Not in the Rivals staff's eyes.  Nice to see that talent is still what's being judged here.  After saying that though, where is Morris' future roommate S Dymonte Thomas??  Not even in the top 100??  Questionable.  I mean he is an Army All American Fergod Sakes!!
Image via here
No Surprise: LaQuon Treadwell.  Won multiple player of the year awards, led his team to a state title, and dominated all competition this year....Yeah I'd say he deserves to be the #1 WR.  But regarding Michigan, not looking good thanks to Treadwell's 3rd visit to Ole Miss:


Big Visit Weekend

Mark December 14th on your calendar Maize n Blue Nation.  On this day almost every current '13 commit is making their official visit to Ann Arbor.  Why is this so significant you ask?!  There's a few top uncommitted prospects who will take in AA along side fellow recruiters (commits might as well be called recruiters).

Does the name David Dawson ring a bell? (Ok stupid question, sorry) Well this past week, Dawson was re-offered by Hoke and Co. after having a heart to heart with the staff according to TomVH.  Maize n Brew News has Dawson's reaction.  You can't really blame them.  Dawson is definitely the most talented OL left with Michigan interest, so why not extend another offer.  Joining Dawson, and also a fellow de-commit, is Gareon ConleyConley was very upfront with the staff about the whole situation, so no hard feelings here.

A few other names you may be interested in: Recent offerees OL Kenny Lacy and OL Cameron Hunt.


 More Highlights

'13 commit DL Maurice Hurst, Jr. senior season highlights, and yes he is playing RB at 290 lbs.!!!

'13 Derrick Green senior season highlights.  BEASTMODE!!!


'13 S James Crawford senior season highlights

'14 RB Gary Hosey junior season highlights

'14 QB Andrew Ford senior season highlights

 '15 WR Ray Buford sophomore, yes sophomore highlights 


In-Home Visits and Offers

Friday was a very exciting day and news of coaches flying all over the country to see top talent, whether it be in-home or at school, was a plenty.  Needless to say, their were A LOT of recruits who got a chance to make a connection with our Michigan coaching staff.  Below, you will see who received the visits and which assistant coach (if known) is recruiting them:

2013
QB Shane Morris - Coach Jackson
OL Logan Tuley-Tillman - with Coach Hecklinski
http://distilleryimage11.instagram.com/13aecbf83a9c11e2b62722000a1fbc10_7.jpg
Image via here
S Leon McQuay
WR LaQuon Treadwell - Coach Hecklinski
RB Derrick Green 

S James Crawford - Coach Montgomery - Reaction
LB Cameron Toney
DB Marquis McCollum
DB Chris Holmes - NC St. commit
LB Jamieon Moss - OFFERED - Va. Tech commit
LB/QB Marquis Little - OFFERED - BC commit



2014
LB Michael Ferns - Greg Mattison and Mark Smith
DL Malik McDowell
MI WR Asantay Brown
RB Mikale Wilbon - Coach Hecklinski
OL Jamarco Jones - Coach Hecklinksi
DB Parker Westphal - Coach Hecklinksi
OL Ty Barrett - Coach Funk
OL Christian Taylor
RB Brian Walker
LB Nyles Morgan - OFFERED - Reaction
TE/DE Garrett Dickerson - OFFERED 
MI DE Lawrence Marshall - OFFERED - Reaction 


2015
RB Jordan Stevenson - Coach Funk


OT

I touched on the Addidas Showcase happening over the weekend at Ford Field in last week's post.  Remember all the MI prospects who were suppose to be in attendance?!  See who the top performers and MVP's were according to Steve Wiltfong.  Also, Sam Webb has "Where Michigan stands with for top offensive line recruits."

Outgoing: Stephen Hopkins

Hopkins at 2012 media day.
Tweeted out during Hoke's presser today...



And then Hopkins himself...



Responding to questions as to "why/when?", Hoke simply said, "You'd have to ask him."

No idea how this all went down, but I can assume it was an issue of lack of playing time. Hopkins saw no carries this season despite the struggles of Fitz and Rawls. During his freshman year, in 2010, Hopkins had 37 carries for 151 yards. Under Hoke in 2011, those numbers dropped to 11 rushes for 43 yards. Obviously, he wasn't satisfied with that.

Odd that Hoke was in no mood to go into details, not even a "we wish him the best" or anything like that. I'm guessing this might not have been a clean break up.

Best of luck to the young man.

The Big Ten Wants YOUR Take on Expansion

Expansion is happening. Really happening. And the Big Ten office wants to know what you, the fan, thinks about it. I don't know how much your answers to this survey will be taken into consideration, but I think it's a good sign that the league would like to know what the fans think about things like division names, rivalries, and how much you care about them.

My favorite question...

That kinda says is all, I think. Make you clicks heard here.

Michigan to Face South Carolina in the Outback Bowl

Lifted directly from OutbackBowl.com
Well, it's not quite the Capital One, but it's better than the Gator. Either way it's a New Year's Day bowl in Florida against an SEC opponent. Who's that opponent? South Carolina. It's Hoke versus the old ball coach.

I like it. It's a good opponent, and it will be a tough challenge for this Michigan squad. But of all the potential SEC matchups, I think S. Carolina is one of the more beatable, if there's such a thing. Plus, Tampa is one of the better bowl locations in Florida.

Maybe Michigan, Nebraska and Northwestern can act as Big Ten ambassadors and swing by some southern schools on their way down/back to see if anyone's interested in Big Ten membership?

Via UM press release:
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan football team earned a bid to play in the 27th annual Outback Bowl against No. 11 South Carolina on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. The game will be televised nationally by ESPN starting at 1 p.m. from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.

"The University of Michigan happily accepts the invitation to play in the Outback Bowl on New Year's Day," said Dave Brandon, the Donald R. Shepherd Director of Athletics. "We are honored to represent the Big Ten in Tampa. Our team worked very hard this season, and this is a reward for their effort. It's a great way to send out the seniors on Team 133."

"We are excited to represent the Big Ten in the Outback Bowl," said head football coach Brady Hoke. "The Outback Bowl organization and those associated with the Tampa community run an outstanding bowl game. They made my final game as an assistant coach at Michigan a very enjoyable and memorable experience. South Carolina is an excellent football program and we look forward to the challenge of facing them on New Year's Day."

Michigan (8-4, 6-2 Big Ten) finished the regular season in second place in the Legends Division. The Wolverines are ranked 19th in the Associated Press media poll and 22nd in the USA Today Coaches poll. Team 133's losses came to the No. 1, 2, 3 and 23 teams in the AP poll. Those four squads posted a 46-4 record during the season.

South Carolina (10-2, 6-2 SEC) finished the regular season in third place in the SEC's Eastern Division. The Gamecocks are listed 10th in the USA Today Coaches poll and rank 11th in the AP poll. USC's only losses came in consecutive weeks, falling to LSU (24-21) and Florida (44-11). The Wolverines are 1-1 all-time against the Gamecocks, losing, 17-14, at home in 1980 and prevailing, 34-3, in Columbia during the 1985 season.

"We are thrilled to extend an invitation to the University of Michigan to play in this year's Outback Bowl," said Outback Bowl Chairman Mike Kerrigan. "They are an exciting team featuring exceptional talent and should, along with our SEC selection, put on an exciting show on New Year's Day. We look forward to hosting the Wolverine team and their fans and ensure them it will be a fabulous experience."

This will be Michigan's fifth appearance in the Outback Bowl. U-M has compiled a 3-1 record in the Outback/Hall of Fame Bowl, with appearances in the 1988, 1994, 1997 and 2003 games. The Wolverines defeated Alabama (28-24) in the 1988 game, North Carolina State (42-7) in the 1994 contest and Florida (38-30) in the 2003 game. The lone setback came against Alabama (17-14) in the 1997 game.

BOWL GAME NOTES:
• Michigan is making its 42nd all-time bowl appearance (20-21).
• This will be the 32nd time that Michigan faces a Southeastern Conference school (23-7-1 record all-time).
• The Wolverines have compiled a 7-4 mark against the SEC in bowl games.
• Michigan has compiled an 8-5 bowl game record in the Sunshine State.
• This will be the 36th all-time January bowl game for the Wolverines (18-17 record).