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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

When Michigan got two early commitments from quarterbacks Kevin Newsome and Shavodrick Beaver it looked like they had quickly addressed the most gaping hole on the roster and would discontinue efforts to land other ball-throwin' guys. This did not so much happen. Tate -- not Jason -- Forcier continues to list Michigan high and came out to the one-day senior camp a few weeks ago. Floridian Eugene Smith has Michigan in his top five and appears to be under the impression Michigan is still recruiting him.

In a TLA: WTF?

There have been rumors that Newsome is still open to other schools recruiting him, most prominently Penn State and Virginia Tech. They are no longer rumors. This is a "close family friend" of Kevin Newsome:

"I thought when he picked Michigan, he jumped the gun a little bit, and I was disappointed," [former West Branch coach Lew] Johnston said. "I told him that."

Johnston is not a big fan of Wolverines coach Rich Rodriguez, who told Newsome he was "their guy" and then continued to recruit several other top quarterbacks. Michigan received a second QB commitment just days after Newsome's pledge.

"We're very close, and I've told him I'd like to see him stay closer to home," Johnston said. "I'm not going to push it, but there's something about playing in your home state."

There is obviously a possibility of a decommitment and Newsome will bear watching going into the fall.

Meanwhile, I am not a big fan of this Johnston guy. "I'm not going to push it, I'm just going to... you know... push it." Here's a quote from Kevin Newsome himself($):
"I know they want to take two and they're looking at Tate Forcier, Eugene Smith and some others," he said. "I'm not really worried about that. They told me I was their top guy and I know I have to compete. I just think the school and the football situation fit me right."
Johnston's uninformed.

I don't know who started it, but now we have a feedback loop: Newsome remains slightly open to other schools because Michigan is recruiting other quarterbacks; Michigan is recruiting other quarterbacks because Newsome remains slightly open to other schools.

The situation, as far as I can see:

Shavodrick Beaver is solid on Michigan, and has reportedly even encouraged Forcier to commit. A scholar and a gentleman, he. Beaver grew up a big Texas fan and if there was going to be some wobble it would have been when the Longhorns offered him (at WR) a couple months ago. There was not.

Kevin Newsome is probably going to stick, IMO. The structural factors that led Newsome to pick Michigan -- Jay "Duh" Paterno and VT QB Tyrod Taylor -- are still in place. This Johnston guy is a former West Branch coach and Newsome is transferring to Hargrave Military, which seems to say a lot about the influence this guy wields: not much. Hargrave, by the way, is a prep school that hosts a wide array of guys who didn't make it academically every year. It's kind of a football Oak Hill. Newsome will play on their "post graduate" team.

But... uh...
His father, Kevin Sr., confirmed the move this afternoon, saying his son wanted to "continue to improve at quarterback so he'll be in a better position to step in and help somebody as soon as possible when he gets to college."
Help somebody? Er. That article also floats Newsome's potential attendance at a VT one-day camp; he does that and he's instantly a soft commit.

The Hargrave move is good in multiple ways for Michigan: it gets him to a school well-known for coaching kids up, it provides a tough level of competition, and it should smooth Newsome's path to an early enrollment. If Newsome enrolls early, Michigan won't have to wait until signing day to find out how solid he is, and if he ends up decommitting hopefully Forcier or Smith is still out there. (And even if they're not... snake oil, baby.)

I think Tate Forcier wants to go to Michigan. This is just speculation, mind you, but Forcier continues to speak highly of Michigan long after that stopped making any sense, and dumping a grand or so to come out to the camp a couple weeks ago speaks volumes. IIRC, he hasn't made it out to Penn State, Florida, or Oregon in a while. Throw in those myspace comments when Newsome committed and the preference seems clear. IMO, a Newsome decommit will either be preceded or quicky followed by a Forcier commit.

Eugene Smith might also be a possibility if he intends to wait, which I believe he does.

Who do I want? I like 'em all.