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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Update 1/9: Removed a fair number of commitments to other schools. Moved CA CB/S Michael Williams to committed. Added NBC's US Army Bowl "highlights" which are less highlights and more "every play." Michael Williams features intermittently, but they're under Mallett (and here: first quarter second quarter third quarter fourth quarter). You'll have to watch Mustachioed Non-Heisman Winner plug Sprint four times, but you can also get in the entire game in like 25 or 30 minutes, which is way less creepy and pedophiliac than watching it live. Or at least that's what I'm telling myself. Game fallout: guy who looks like he walked right off the 1988 World Series of Poker set and into the Texarkana Gazette goes OMG Mallett; GBW gushes; ESPN says that Mallett is at least Clausen's equal($) but they aren't "in love" with any of this year's quarterback class -- they still lifted him from #54 to #12, though.

Meanwhile, three Michigan commits -- WR Toney Clemons, S Jerimy Finch, and C David Molk -- featured in another game that no one saw because it was on ESPNU. Scout has a recap. Sounds like Molk did well; Finch has been shooting up Rivals' -- the lone dissenter on his awesome talent -- board for a while now. He's #30 with a bullet in their latest top 100.

Linked to article on NC DE Kourtnei Brown.

Editorial Opinon: I missed the Army Bowl, which I plain forgot was on, but NBC's extremely helpful video clips above are the entire game compressed into about 25 minutes, so I saw the Mallett exhibition. And... like... damn. He was ponderous on the one designed run they had, but he's ginorbous so that's okay. Most impressive to me were a couple of plays outside the pocket late in the third. One was a waggle bullet put right in his receivers' numbers well downfield, and the second was a similar rollout, only this time Mallet evaded two unblocked defenders smoothly and rifled a ball in-between a couple of defenders. There were also a couple sweet seams, but Clausen and a couple of the harried East quarterbacks found similar success looking for that route so I lean towards coverage restrictions making that a money play in this particular All-Star format.

MGoBlog philosophy on All Star games is this: chemistry and odd rules issues make a poor performance excusable -- dismiss mucho-hyped recruits based on half a game's worth of snaps at your peril -- but there are generally a few players in each game who jump out and establish themselves as no-doubt stars. Witness Justin Boren's roadgrading a year ago, Desean Jackson's explosive performance two years back, etc etc. To me, three guys leapt off the screen: USC commits Everson Griffen and Chris Galippo plus Mallett. Extremely encouraging.

Williams didn't see much action aside from acting as the punt and kickoff returner for the West. He had a couple decent returns but didn't look like a monster threat. At defensive back, he wasn't tested and it's impossible to know if he A) didn't play much, B) covered scrub-ish WRs, or C) was good enough in coverage that QBs shied away from him. Anyone with a more comprehensive opinion on Williams' game is welcome to post it in the comments.

No one saw that other All Star game, but some general impressions from, er, the impressions I've seen:

  • Toney Clemons looks like a future star, emphasis on "looks." Raw as hell at the moment, so raw you might want to spell that hell "hail" and put it in italics, mentally.
  • Molk is still short but a good pickup anyway. From the above-linked GBW recap:
    David Molk really impressed in this All-Star game with his blocking ability and his athleticism. The East's Head Coach, Don Soldinger, when asked who the best player on the team was said -- David Molk. He possibly could be the most athletic offensive center Michigan has had in a very long time. He gets under the pads of the defensive player and drives him down the field and then he searches out the linebacker to block.
    Discount for standard GBW-OMG-hype but still something in the plus column for Molk.
  • Finch is going to be kickass unless he falls prey to standard I'm A Michigan Safety So I Suck syndrome. Aside from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how is the recruit? Good. With Jonas Mouton officially an OLB, chances are Finch is given a serious shot at safety. The coaching staff has high hopes for Mouton and shoving the consensus second-best recruit in the class behind a redshirt freshman this fall doesn't seem like an intelligent allocation of assets.
Many commits elsewhere. I think the only one I was holding out much hope for was Lorenzo Edwards, who ended up at Florida. That may have been presaged by some MGoBlog commenters who made it clear that majoring in architecture and playing football were not compatible endeavors at Michigan.

The Stretch: Michigan now has 20 commitments and can hypothetically take five more (or even more if they're willing to bend/stretch stuff, but that seems unlikely). Guys remaining we have a shot at:
  • TN WR Rashad Mason. Proverbially "blew up" after his senior year. A true sleeper who lost his junior year to a severe car accident. Mason's a 6'6" leaper whose senior film got him offers from a bunch of places. Has set up visits to M, UCLA, and a few SEC schools. Decent shot and this is a recruit Michigan wants badly, stars or no, given the 3 or 4 wideouts already committed in this class.
  • MI CB Ronald Johnson. The most shirtless of all corner recruits this year. Widely proclaimed to be a Michigan lock since his name started circulating over a year ago, but we all saw what happened with Dionte Allen. Not a stretch to say that a class with him in it is a success (albeit still slightly disappointing) and one without him is a failure. If any recruit is a must-get, it's him.
  • OH LB Jermale Hines. Glenville linebacker now has an OSU offer. Not coming.
  • CA CB Donovan Warren. Down to Michigan and various California schools. Not USC would be a shock.
  • IN DT Jeff Boyd. Marginal Michigan recruit. Committed to KY but looking around. Teammate of Finch.
  • NC DE Kourtnei Brown. Alabama soft commit that will likely firm up his verbal now that Alabama finally has a coach. Says he will decide on signing day between Michigan and a wide array of southern teams. Highly improbable.
  • NY OT John Elliot. High profile tackle down to four schools with the instability at BC. All are academically good: Rutgers, UVA, Michigan, etc. Doubtful he comes but not impossible.
  • MO OT Donald Stephenson. Three-star OT, Kansas decommit who is visiting. Competition is various Big Twelve schools. Maybe?
Realistically there are two-ish commitments on that list, so Michigan might go scouring for Engelmons as signing day approaches if it has some pending transfers or guys that are not returning for a fifth year and thus surplus scholarships.