How can you support the blog?

    (image via gfycat)

    As summer has arrived and I have a little more time on my hands, thoughts about maximizing the site's potential have once again begun to percolate in my mind. It also didn't hurt that MGoBlog recently went through a site redesign, which some people have liked and others have not. When you have a business/hobby such as blogging, it's hard not to think about ways to streamline or improve your product.

    One thing that has crossed my mind is asking for your support, which can come in many ways. So if you don't mind, please indulge me as I discuss some ways you can help Touch the Banner become more successful.

    FIRST OF ALL, WHY SUPPORT THE BLOG?

    Here are a few reasons to support TTB in one way or another:

    • Running a business costs money. First and foremost, what I do isn't free. Servers cost money, tech support costs money, and then there are the plain old costs of domain fees, taxes, licenses, etc.
    • I have my eye set on site improvements. I'm not 100% satisfied with the blog design and would like to make some tweaks. Tweaks take time and money, but I want to improve the user experience, especially when it comes to discussion and the message board.
    • This is the best free site for Michigan football and recruiting information. Maybe I'm living in my own little world, but a lot of Michigan sites have come and gone, while TTB keeps chugging along. There are generally at least two posts per day, almost all of which are centered around Michigan football and recruiting. There's no other site - free or not - that literally covers every single Michigan offer and tracks all 250-300 offers in every recruiting cycle, right up to or beyond National Signing Day. There are offer boards for every cycle and individual profile pages with highlights, measurements, notes, etc. That's not to say every post here is superior to every post on the other sites, but you get more of it, and it's often in more depth. Not only that, but I do my best to respond to readers' individual questions and requests.

    So here's how you can make it happen:

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    Welcome to the Weekend!

    It's time to enjoy some beautiful ladies on this here Friday night.

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    Joey Velazquez, Wolverine

    Joey Velazquez (image via 11 Warriors)

    Columbus (OH) St. Francis DeSales linebacker/safety Joey Velazquez committed to Michigan on Friday morning. He had previously been committed to Ohio State to play baseball only. He picked the Wolverines over Cincinnati and Indiana, among others, and he plans to continue his baseball career in Ann Arbor as well.

    Velazquez is listed at 6'0", 205 lbs. As a baseball player, Velazquez has been timed at 6.84 in the 60, and his throwing velocity has been measured at 85 miles per hour as a left-handed outfielder. His measureables are even more impressive when translated to football, where he has a 4.54 forty, a 390 lb. bench press, a 570 lb. squat, and a 600 lb. deadlift. He ran for 356 yards and 7 touchdowns on offense as a junior, and he made 50 tackles, 2 interceptions, and 4 pass breakups on defense.

    RATINGS
    ESPN: Unranked
    Rivals: 3-star S
    247 Sports: 3-star, 87 grade, #52 S, #651 overall

    Hit the jump for more on Velazquez's commitment.

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    Ex-Wolverine Updates: 2018 Pre-Season

    Vic Viramontes is going to row the boat...at Riverside City College (image via Twin Cities)

    TRANSFERS

    Devin Asiasi, TE (UCLA): Asiasi sat out the season due to NCAA transfer rules. From what I can gather, he's pegged to be the #2 tight end this season.

    Ian Bunting, TE (California): Bunting will be a fifth year senior at Cal this fall.

    Brian Cole, S (Mississippi State): Cole is listed as a 6'2", 210 lb. redshirt junior safety at Mississippi State and is projected to be the Bulldogs' starting nickel player. He spent last season at East Mississippi Community College.

    Kekoa Crawford, WR: Crawford will transfer, though his destination is unknown.

    Kingston Davis, RB (UAB): Davis is a 6'0", 245 lb. running back at UAB after spending last season at Independence Community College in Kansas. He looks to be one of the featured players on the upcoming season of Last Chance U on Netflix.

    Ja’Raymond Hall, OG (Central Michigan): Hall announced that he would transfer to Central Michigan in the off-season, which means he will have to sit out 2018 due to NCAA transfer rules.

    Elysee Mbem-Bosse, LB: It's unknown at this point whether Mbem-Bosse will continue his football career.

    Kareem Walker, RB: Walker will transfer, though his destination is unknown.

    Keith Washington, CB (West Virginia): Washington, who played this past season at Co-Lin, has transferred to West Virginia, where he's listed as a 6'0", 173 lb. redshirt junior cornerback.

    Maurice Ways, WR (California): Ways will be a fifth year senior at Cal this fall.

    Hit the jump for news on former commitments and coaches.

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    2018 Season Countdown: #81 Ryan Hayes

    Ryan Hayes

    Name: Ryan Hayes
    Height: 6'7"
    Weight: 262 lbs.
    High school: Traverse City (MI) West
    Position: Tight end
    Class: Freshman
    Jersey number: N/A
    Last year: Hayes was a senior in high school (LINK). He made 24 catches for 515 yards and 5 touchdowns, along with 26 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, and 1.5 sacks.

    Hayes comes from a very athletic family. His mom and dad played basketball and football at Central Michigan, respectively, and his older brother Connor played football at Pitt. I guess those are the genes that produce 6'7", 262 lb. kids who are athletic enough to maybe play tight end in college, when those kids are normally pegged for offensive tackle early on. Hayes was recruited to Michigan by offensive tackles/tight ends coach Greg Frey, even though Frey moved on to Florida State as their offensive line coach.

    The outlook for Hayes this season could swing wildly. He could redshirt, or he could play a ton, particularly as a blocking tight end. I think Hayes is an excellent blocker coming out of high school, and that's a skill that many of the current tight ends at Michigan have struggled to master. I believe he will eventually be molded into an offensive tackle, but it's not out of the realm of possibility for him to be Michigan's best blocking tight end by season's end. Even so, I don't think his presence is necessary for Michigan to have a successful season, and there are a lot of options at tight end, so he's relatively low in the countdown.

    Prediction: Backup tight end

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    Berkley Edwards, Wolverine

    Berkley Edwards (image via Detroit Free Press)

    Former Minnesota and Central Michigan running back Berkley Edwards will be joining the Michigan Wolverines as a walk-on. He's the son of former Michigan running back Stan Edwards and the brother of former Michigan wide receiver Braylon Edwards.

    Hit the jump for more on the transfer news.

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    2020 Recruiting Update: Defense

    Santa Ana (CA) Mater Dei CB Elias Ricks (image via Maxpreps)

    I haven't done one of these 2020 recruiting updates in a while, because it seems like there's so much action with the current recruiting class. But here's a huge dump of information on the 2020 recruits on the defensive side of the ball, along with some guys who committed to other schools.

    COMMITMENT

    Columbus (OH) Northland wide receiver Kalil Branham committed to Michigan (LINK).

    Belleville (MI) Belleville cornerback Andre Seldon, Jr. committed to Michigan (LINK).

    ADDED TO THE BOARD: 2020

    Fort Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas defensive end Devon Betty was offered by Michigan. He's a 6'0", 190 lb. prospect with offers from Ohio State, Oklahoma, and South Carolina, among others. He's a 247 Sports 4-star, the #5 outside linebacker, and #57 overall. Michigan has made several attempts to get a foothold at Aquinas, but it's tough sledding at a powerhouse program that every big-time program recruits.

    Orlando (FL) Dr. Phillips linebacker Stephen Dix, Jr. was offered by Michigan. He's a 6'0", 205 lb. outside linebacker with offers from Clemson, Florida, and Ohio State, among others. He's a 247 Sports 3-star, the #23 outside linebacker, and #325 overall. He attends the alma mater of former Michigan commit Demetrius Hart, and it's where former Michigan tight end Ricardo Miller began his high school career before transferring to Ann Arbor (MI) Pioneer.

    Upland (CA) Upland linebacker Justin Flowe, Jr. was offered by Michigan. He's a 6'3", 225-pounder with offers from Alabama, Ohio State, Oregon, UCLA, and USC, among others. He's a 247 Sports 5-star, the #2 outside linebacker, and #4 overall. He's likely bound for USC, but here are his highlights, anyway:

    Highland Springs (VA) Highland Springs safety Malcolm Greene was offered by Michigan. He's a 5'11", 180 lb. prospect with offers from Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia Tech, among others. He claims a 4.57 forty, a 230 lb. bench, and a 350 lb. squat.

    Hit the jump for several more player updates.

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