2017 Recruiting Update: January 27, 2017

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27Jan 2017
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2017 Recruiting Update: January 27, 2017

Antjuan Simmons (image via Eleven Warriors)

ADDED TO THE BOARD: 2017

Ft. Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas wide receiver Mike Harley decommitted from West Virginia. He’s a 4-star, the #42 wide receiver, and #303 overall. Michigan had an in-home with him a few weeks ago, but he’s now favored to go to Miami.

OFF THE BOARD

Warren (OH) Harding safety Lynn Bowden committed to Kentucky. Bowden had put Michigan on his top list at one point, but there wasn’t a ton of contact between the two parties.

Clearwater (FL) Central Catholic wide receiver C.J. Cotman committed to North Carolina. He had previously been committed to Tennessee.

Hit the jump for several more players who committed elsewhere recently.

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26Jan 2017
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Visitors: January 27-29, 2017

Iowa City (IA) West wide receiver Oliver Martin (image via The Gazette)

Ellis Brooks – LB – Richmond (VA) Benedictine: Brooks is a 6’2″, 233 lb. prospect who was committed to Duke at one point. He also has offers from LSU, Maryland, Michigan, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Oregon, and Virginia, among others. He’s a 4-star, the #12 inside linebacker, and #267 overall. He has had a bit of a meandering journey with the Duke commitment, a few different leaders, a few teams slow-playing him, etc. In fact, both Michigan and Notre Dame have pulled back at times. UPDATE: Michigan is no longer pursuing Brooks.

Joel Honigford – OT – Sugarcreek (OH) Garaway: Honigford committed to Michigan in June of 2016 (LINK). This is his official visit.

Oliver Martin – WR – Iowa City (IA) West: Martin is a 6’0″, 188 lb. prospect with offers from Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, and Ohio State, among others. He’s a 4-star, the #28 wide receiver, and #170 overall. He played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl a few weeks ago, and as a senior in 2016, he caught 85 passes for 1,272 yards and 14 touchdowns. He was also Gatorade Player of the Year in Iowa. Michigan had been his leader at one point but backed off when they thought Nico Collins was coming. Now that Collins seems to be headed for Georgia, Michigan has picked things back up for Martin. This will be an official visit.

Hit the jump for some more visitors.

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26Jan 2017
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Review of 2016 Season Predictions




Now that the season is over for Michigan, it’s a good time to go back and look at my predictions from September 1, 2016, to see how close I came to being right. Or to see how embarrassingly terrible I did. You can find the predictions post here (LINK).

LEADING RUSHER

Prediction: De’Veon Smith, 870 yards
Actual: De’Veon Smith, 846 yards
Analysis: Okay, that was pretty damn accurate to start.

LEADING RECEIVER

Prediction: Jehu Chesson, 900 yards
Actual: Amara Darboh, 852 yards
Analysis: I screwed the pooch on this one. Chesson ended up with 500 yards. He really didn’t look like the same player that he was in the second half of 2015. Maybe it was the knee injury, or maybe it was a lack of chemistry with new quarterback Wilton Speight. Either way, it was a disappointing year for Chesson.

LEADING TACKLER

Prediction: Ben Gedeon, 80 tackles
Actual: Ben Gedeon, 100 tackles
Analysis: I got the player right, but Gedeon played more than I expected. Even though Michigan didn’t have a great option at middle linebacker behind him, I thought the Wolverines would play someone else in blowouts or just to give the guy a break. That didn’t happen much, though. He was an iron man out there, and I guess when the next guy on the depth chart is converted walk-on defensive end Mike Wroblewski, you probably want to stick with Gedeon most of the time.

Hit the jump for more of a look back at Michigan’s season and the predictions I posted here.

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25Jan 2017
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Greg Frey, Wolverine . . . again

Greg Frey (image via Twitter)

Indiana co-offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Greg Frey is now Michigan run game coordinator/offensive tackles/tight ends coach Greg Frey. As has been rumored for several days, the former Michigan coach (2008-2010) is returning to Ann Arbor.

Frey is from Clearwater, FL and went on to play college football at Florida State under Bobby Bowden from 1992-1996. He then coached at South Florida, where Kenyatta Jones was the first offensive lineman drafted from the school. He coached at West Virginia with Rich Rodriguez before being brought to Michigan. Since his last stint in Ann Arbor, he was co-OC/OL coach at Indiana, where he developed offensive guard Dan Feeney into an All-American and helped Jason Spriggs become a 2nd round pick of the Green Bay Packers in 2016.

Let me repeat: He developed a 2nd round pick and an All-American. At Indiana. And those are two separate people, not just one.

Additionally, he helped to develop David Molk into a Rimington Award winner (though technically that came one year after Frey left), and he helped to recruit and develop Taylor Lewan and Michael Schofield. The 2008 season was rather forgettable, but Michigan improved significantly in 2009 and 2010 with little in the way of experienced talent. (Lewan and Schofield redshirted as freshmen in 2009.) With a good deal less talent, Michigan had some decent offensive lines in those days that helped Denard Robinson run for oodles of yards and allowed him time to complete almost 63% of his passes.

With the arrival of Frey, Tim Drevno has responsibilities for the centers and guards. Jim Harbaugh used this setup previously at Stanford when he had a C/OG coach and an OT/TE coach. Frey has limited experience coaching tight ends, but they do often work in concert with the tackles on combo blocks, and some of the pass sets are similar. This also potentially creates a line of succession if Drevno leaves for a head coaching or coordinator job after next season.

On top of the day-to-day work with the team, Frey has been a solid recruiter and has ties to the state of Florida. I think this is a positive move for the program overall, and the mediocre offensive line has been holding Michigan back for the past couple seasons. Getting another set of eyes on the offensive line and maybe some more one-on-one tutelage or different ideas on how to run the ball might get the Wolverines going in a more positive direction.

As a result of hiring Frey, Jay Harbaugh will now move over to coach the running backs after Tyrone Wheatley left for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Harbaugh has little to no experience with running backs, but the same could be said for his previous role with the tight ends. In his two years at Michigan, the units that he’s been responsible for have produced a Mackey Award winner (Jake Butt) and a bunch of blocked kicks. While it’s not a sure thing that he continues to have success with the running backs, there’s no evidence that he will be holding the team back with the way he coaches the running backs.

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