John Baxter, Ex-Wolverine

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7Jan 2016
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John Baxter, Ex-Wolverine

John Baxter

Michigan special teams coordinator John Baxter is no longer coaching at Michigan. He has been re-hired at USC, which is where he was before spending one year in Ann Arbor. Michigan took a step forward on special teams this year, doing an excellent job on kickoff returns (#3 in the country with 28.4 yards/return), pinning opponents deep on punts, and covering kickoffs, not to mention thwarting a couple attempted fakes by Florida in the Citrus Bowl. Michigan also forged a pretty decent kicker out of Kenny Allen (80% on field goals, 100% on extra points), who spent the previous three seasons concentrating on punting. There were a few hiccups along the way, though, including the dropped punt snap that lost the Michigan State game, a punt return touchdown allowed against Indiana, and a long return allowed against Rutgers. Michigan was better on special teams, but not great.

It’s unclear how Baxter’s position will be filled. Michigan recruiting coordinator Chris Partridge was on staff temporarily for the Citrus Bowl after defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin left Michigan for the Maryland head coaching job. Durkin tried to take Partridge to Maryland, but he stayed at Michigan after being promised an “increased role.” This may be that increased role. Prior to coaching Jabrill Peppers, Juwann Bushell-Beatty, Rashan Gary, and others at Paramus (NJ) Catholic, Partridge was a position coach and assistant special teams coach at both Lafayette and The Citadel, so he does have some experience with coaching specials. If Partridge were to take on a coaching role, there have been rumors that Devin Bush, Sr. – the father of Michigan early enrollee Devin Bush, Jr. – will leave his head coaching job at Pembroke Pines (FL) Flanagan to take on a recruiting coordinator role for the Wolverines.

Baxter’s recruiting area was the West Coast. This change should not affect the Wolverines greatly in that area, since Jim Harbaugh, Tim Drevno, Jay Harbaugh, and Greg Jackson have all spent time living and coaching on the Left Coast. Baxter was also in charge of implementing a respected academic program to help athletes stay on track while playing sports, a program he puts in place wherever he goes.

7Jan 2016
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Review of 2008 Recruiting: Quarterbacks

Justin Feagin

The 2008 recruiting class reflects the transition year between Lloyd Carr (who announced his retirement at the end of the regular season) and Rich Rodriguez (who was hired in December). Also, up until this point, a Stanford offer might not have been noteworthy, but now that Jim Harbaugh was at Stanford, I might point out players with Stanford offers since that shows what kind of players he has traditionally pursued.

David Cone, RS So.
Nick Sheridan, RS So. (walk-on)
Steven Threet, RS Fr.

Justin Feagin
Ratings: Rivals 3-star, #41 ATH
High school: Delray Beach (FL) Atlantic
College: Michigan
Other notable offers: Miami, Rutgers, West Virginia
Scoop: Feagin was a late pull by Rich Rodriguez. He had been recruited by Rodriguez at West Virginia, but he was a dual-threat guy whom some teams wanted as a receiver or cornerback. He didn’t commit to Michigan until National Signing Day. He played sparingly in four games at Michigan in 2008, running the ball 11 times for 52 yards and attempting 0 passes. He got in trouble for drugs in the off-season and left Michigan, ending up at Texas Southern, where he caught 1 pass for 8 yards and ran 2 times for -4 yards as a sophomore in 2009. He left TSU and ended up at Glenville State (Rodriguez’s former program) for the 2012 season, doing a little bit of everything. He completed 49/109 passes for 6 touchdowns and 3 interceptions; ran 64 times for 195 yards (3.0 yards/carry) and 1 touchdown; and caught 17 passes for 120 yards (7.1 yards/catch). He returned to Glenville State in 2013, but it looks like he only played defense, where he made 1 interception while playing in two games. He was not taken in the 2014 NFL Draft and his career appears to be finished.

Hit the jump for a look at the rest of Michigan’s quarterback recruiting efforts in 2008.

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6Jan 2016
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Recruiting Snapshot: Purdue

Bradenton (FL) IMG Academy RB Jack Wegher

2016 Team Ranking: #73. Purdue has eleven 3-stars and four 2-stars committed.

Cream of 2016 Crop: Purdue has taken the route of signing three JUCO players to prop up their recruiting efforts, so arguably the best two players in the class are San Francisco (CA) City College DE Austin Larkin (3-star, #8 WDE, #114 JUCO) and Rochester (NY) Monroe Community College CB Kamal Hardy (3-star, #12 CB, #117 JUCO). The highest-rated high school player is Lewis Center (OH) Olentangy OT Luke Campbell (3-star, #106 OT), so you can see why they have to raid junior colleges. A couple other notable players are Houston (TX) St. Thomas DT Lorenzo Neal, the son of the former NFL fullback with the same name, and Bradenton (FL) IMG Academy RB Jack Wegher (see below), the brother of former Iowa running back Brandon Wegher.

2017 Team Ranking: Unranked. Purdue has zero commits for 2017.

5Jan 2016
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Review of 2015 Season Predictions

Jehu Chesson

Back on September 3, 2015, I posted my predictions for the 2015 season (LINK). As I do each year, I look here at how badly I missed.

My prediction:
De’Veon Smith, 700 yards
Actual: De’Veon Smith, 753 yards
Thoughts: Hooray! Well, this is a good start. I was only 53 yards off on a season total. Not bad.

Hit the jump for more.

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