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Monday, July 25, 2005

Two high school all-star games were played over the weekend that featured Michigan recruits. As you can see at right, Terrance Taylor scared just about everyone in an intra-Michigan game in which he scored two touchdowns on fumble recoveries.

mgoblog has said this before, but I should reiterate: he is the most underrated player coming into this class (er, except for TE Carson Butler), even though he was a top 100 guy. I love the fact that he's under 6 feet tall but still has the strength and size to play DT. Getting under his pads will be very difficult for anyone who's big enough to not crumple like the fender of Bob Huggins' car after a few too many under his onslaught. I previously speculated that Taylor would be a 3-technique tackle but after seeing some pictures of him and reading about the way he was used in the all star game, I think he's probably Gabe Watson's heir apparent. Michigan will line him up Jerry Ball-style and imply that yummy num-nums can be found in that ball the skinny white kid keeps throwing around. Chaos will ensue.

The other news item out of the Michigan game was a brief newspaper article from the Jackson Citizen Patriot with this:
"If they were playing Ohio State this week, he'd be dressed," Jackson coach Jack Fairly said. "Coach (Lloyd) Carr told me they want him playing as a freshman, so they don't want him to get injured in the All-Star game."
Interesting, especially given that Taylor was greenlighted to play. Michigan does have at least four defensive tackles who are either proven seniors (Watson, Massey) or buzz-generating underclassmen (Branch, Will Johnson), so some freakish injury to Taylor probably wouldn't affect the season much. Also, since Bass was slated to start at quarterback and run a ton, there was a much greater chance that he would take some hits. Taylor spent the game dispensing them, not receiving them.

But the depth at defensive tackle appears to be mirrored by the depth at wide reciever: Michigan has Breaston, Avant, Arrington, Dutch, and Tabb. Both Arrington and Dutch were top-100 wide receivers and Tabb is fast, I'd be happy with those five no problem. Neither Mario Manningham (more on him later) nor Antonio Bass will redshirt. Only time will tell whether that means that the freshmen are just impossible to keep off the field or if the guys 3-5 have been somewhat disappointing. Given everything surrounding Mario I am leaning to the former.

About that racoon-suited receiver: in the annual Big 33 game between Ohio and Pennsylvania, Manningham took a slant pass from future Buckeye Rob Schoenhoft to the hizzle de dizzle heeeouse fo shizzle [/Stuart Scott] from 74 yards out, Mister Simpson got 11 yards on 5 carries, and Zoltan Mesko was... eh, not so consistent. Reports said that his kickoffs got to about the two yard line but were line-drives. He made 4 extra-points but missed one. There's no chance of Epstein-like double duty at punter and kicker for Mesko, which is fine by me given how it seemingly screwed Epstein up. Ohio won 34-28. Reports claim Manningham was the star of the Ohio practices leading up to the game, torching everyone on a variety of routes, from screens to outs to gos. He's good. Like booyah good, Stu. Booyah good.

Message boards have some perspective on the Ohio and Michigan players in the Big 33 game. Check both Michigan and Ohio State perspectives.