Some quick thoughts and tidbits about Michigan football that don’t fit anywhere else.
Sunday Thoughts: Michigan Trending Upwards In Multiple Areas
Earlier this week, we wrote about up and coming players, as well as why Michigan fans should be optimistic about 2018.
I wanted to throw in a few thoughts about some of these things, as well as some other random musings that don’t fit anywhere else.
Let’s start with recruiting:
This week is big for michigan
As you may have heard, Michigan hosted five-star ATH Quavaris Crouch, who’s a killer on both sides of the ball. While it looks like he may be destined for the defensive side, he’s a guy you want on your team.
I had an exclusive interview with Crouch last summer, as he made an unofficial visit to Ann Arbor for the annual BBQ at the Big House. Michigan played all its cards right, and only minutes into the visit, he was raving about how it was playing out.
His first taste of Michigan was joining Chris Evans, David Long, Josh Uche and Quinn Nordin coaching middle-school aged football players at a camp coached by Evans in Ann Arbor. He was so excited to give back, and it was something that had been on his mind going into that visit.
He made it back to campus this weekend. And while we don’t have much intel on how his most recent visit with the Wolverines has gone thus far, it’s something of a make-or-break visit, in our opinion, as Michigan tries to fend off the likes of Clemson and Alabama for his services.
The other big visitor for the weekend was 2020 Aurora (IL) three-star DT Denver Warren, who had his socks blown off on his visit.
He told WolverinesWire earlier that Michigan has vaulted to his number one, and that he’s basically seen all he needs to see.
He’s not ready to pull the trigger just yet, but given everything he told us, we could see him making that decision for the maize and blue sooner than later.
Read more on that, here:
Offseason coaching staff changes
I covered a lot of this in my eight-part breakdown of why Michigan fans should be optimistic in 2018. But, given how much inside info I’ve posted about guys getting bigger, faster and stronger, I wanted to give a more open opinion on this.
We posted this week about the #GAINZ that Karan Higdon and David Long have made this offseason, specifically. I posted generally about Donovan Peoples-Jones and Tarik Black after running into them on the street in Ann Arbor. In short: new strength coach Ben Herbert is making a (literal) sizable difference, and it’s going to go a long way towards making Michigan formidable on the football field this year.
And someone commented on this when I posted the eight-piece series, but the hire of Jim McElwain as a dedicated wide receivers coach should pay dividends as well, especially considering that duty was up to Pep Hamilton, along with the quarterbacks, before. Just as important is the addition of former Michigan WR Roy Roundtree as a graduate assistant. He knows what it’s like to play at Michigan and he has coaching experience from his time at Indiana State.
Where I’m excited to see a change is with Sherrone Moore, who inherits an amazing — and potentially elite — unit with the tight ends. Sources close to the situation say that Zach Gentry is something of an untapped and potentially unstoppable weapon. Sure, he nearly led the Wolverines in receiving last year, but he should be a constant target, because with his size and speed, he’s unguardable if put into the right situations. On top of that, you have Sean McKeon, who led the team in receptions in 2017, Nick Eubanks, who we saw have breakout pass-catching skills in the season opener against Florida, and true freshmen Mustapha Muhammad — who should play in 2018 — and Luke Schoonmaker, who coaches have been salivating over getting to Ann Arbor. But, also don’t forget about walk-on Carter Selzer. I’d heard from some sources that he was doing some good things this spring. If he can continue to ascend, we won’t be surprised if he sees the field.
Last note: I’ve hammered home my thoughts on how big the Ed Warinner hire is for the offensive line. It’s the best move that Michigan made by far — including accepting the Shea Patterson transfer (and there was, indeed, a point where Michigan wasn’t interested, my sources told me as it was happening). I said this in the eight-part series, but it’s not just big because he’s been successful. Sources told me time and time again this spring about how much easier it was to learn from Warinner than his predecessor, and that the group had bought in in a way they hadn’t with Drevno. Things have been simplified without making the assignments vanilla. I can’t speak enough about how important that is.
For those of you who shake your fists when you read our reports of players like Jake McCurry arguably having the biggest jump this offseason, cool your jets.
I understand: you want the scholarship players to pan out. But that’s not always how it works.
In recent years, Michigan has had stellar success with its walk-ons. Look no further than anyone with the name Glasgow. Two of them are playing in the NFL, with Graham being a starter. Jordan Kovacs — who’s now on staff as a grad assistant — became a starter and multi-year NFL player as well. You hear it all the time, about how players are unheralded and rise to the top. Even lower-rated scholarship players – cough *Patrick Omameh* cough – go onto productive NFL careers.
Yes, you want your talent to rise, and that tends to start with your highly-rated recruits. But that’s just where they’re at coming out of high school.
It’s similar to this: think of all the can’t-miss, top-flight guys coming out of college who go early in the first-round of the NFL Draft and are never heard of again. Sometimes injury affects them, like Charles Rogers and the Detroit Lions. Sometimes it’s work ethic, like Mike Williams and the Detroit Lions. Sometimes it’s just…shrug…like Aaron Curry, who Detroit Lions fans hoped to draft (okay, enough bashing the Lions and their picks). Nonetheless, it happens every year in the NFL: a sure-fire guy ends up fading into oblivion, while a former two-star or walk-on makes it happen. Like cornerback Richard Sherman, a converted WR, selected in the fifth-round by Seattle and went on to be a four-time Pro Bowler.
Obviously, you want DPJ, Tarik, Oliver and Nico to become the most feared foursome in all of football. But if a guy like Jake McCurry can come in and be, as Khalid Hill said in his response to WolverinesWire’s article, a human “joystick,” then more power to them.
After all, isn’t it a better story for Michigan — and in life — that a guy that was essentially counted out works his way from the bottom to the absolute top of the depth chart?