School in the News: Penn State

Tag: Anthony Zettel

2Jan 2014
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School in the News: Penn State

Well, Penn State coach Bill O’Brien is off to the Houston Texans, putting the status of the Nittany Lions’ program and recruiting class in question yet again. The two most logical choices to replace O’Brien are former Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano, who is a former PSU assistant coach and just got fired from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and current Miami Hurricanes head coach Al Golden, a former Nittany Lion player and assistant coach.

Roster players recruited by Michigan: DE Deion Barnes, RB Bill Belton, TE Adam Breneman, LB Ben Kline, OG Brendan Mahon, DE C.J. Olaniyan, DE Anthony Zettel, RB Zach Zwinak
2014 commits offered by Michigan: S Marcus Allen, CB Troy Vincent, Jr.

I would not expect any players to transfer to Michigan, and Michigan didn’t pursue Allen or Vincent very hard in the first place, so I doubt O’Brien’s departure will have any effect on Michigan in the immediate future. Olaniyan and Zettel are both from the state of Michigan, but both would likely be starting next season in Happy Valley. Obviously, the bigger question would be Penn State’s recruiting going forward.

I saw O’Brien speak at a clinic in Pennsylvania a couple years ago, and while he gave a rousing speech geared toward PA coaches and taking pride in the Nittany Lions, the entire time I was thinking to myself, “This is great and all, but you’re going to be out the door as soon as a bigger job opens up for you.” Obviously, nobody should blame the guy for taking an NFL if that’s what he wants to do, but it just shows that players should commit to programs instead of coaches. Freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg, who had a solid season as the starter and was rated by many as the #1 quarterback in the 2013 class, is reportedly considering a transfer.

10Jan 2011
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2011 Offer Board Update

Safety Wayne Lyons committed to Stanford

The 2011 Offer Board has been updated.  As you can imagine at this point, none of these recent commitments have gone in Michigan’s favor:

Jon Lewis (DT) committed to Texas Tech.

Keith Lewis (OLB) committed to Ole Miss.

Armstead Williams (ILB) committed to Purdue.

Demetrius Hart (SB) changed his commitment from Michigan to Alabama.

Kris Frost (LB) committed to Auburn.

Wayne Lyons (SS) committed to Stanford.

Devondrick Nealy (SB) committed to Iowa State.

Quan Bray (SB) committed to Auburn.

Doran Grant (CB) committed to Ohio State.

Anthony Zettel (DE) committed to Penn State

14Sep 2010
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Anthony Lalota, ex-Wolverine


Defensive end Anthony Lalota has been released from his scholarship to the University of Michigan. The 6’4″, 270 lb. lineman committed to Michigan from The Hun School in Princeton, New Jersey. Buried on the depth chart behind redshirt junior Ryan Van Bergen, true freshman Jibreel Black, and converted tight end Steve Watson, the redshirt freshman apparently gave up on seeing the field and asked for his release.

Lalota came to Michigan as part of the Class of 2009. He was a late addition to the football program at The Hun School, having only started to play as a junior. He played offensive tackle and defensive end in high school, and Scout had him ranked as a 4-star offensive tackle prospect at one point. Despite being listed by recruiting sites as big as 6’6″ and 260 lbs., he measured in at 6’4″, 235 lbs. prior to his true freshman season. He added 35 lbs. in between his freshman season and redshirt freshman season, but the writing appeared to be on the wall by the time the 2010 season rolled around. When you’re fourth on the depth chart at a position lacking depth, it would be frustrating.

For what it’s worth, I’ve never been a fan of Lalota’s game. My analysis of him after his participation in the Army All-American Game in January 2009 went like this:

I am not very impressed by Lalota’s skills. He’s a recent convert to football, having not played until his junior year of high school. So significant improvement may still be forthcoming. However, he is very raw as a defensive end and usually tries to beat offensive tackles by bull rushing with 100% effort. I love the effort and that hard work could turn him into a very good player, but at 6’6″ and 260 lbs., he reminds me of former Michigan player Pat Massey, which is generally not considered to be a good thing by Michigan fans. As far as I saw, he didn’t make any plays in the game, and I wouldn’t expect him to play significantly at Michigan for at least a couple years.

Lalota was very mechanical coming out of high school. He played defensive end like an offensive tackle. His lateral mobility was virtually nil, and he lacked great football instincts. I actually would have liked him more for a 3-3-5 defense than I did for the 4-front that Michigan employed at the time he was recruited. Regardless, he seemed overrated to me as a high 4-star prospect. Like many football recruits, the services looked at his size (which was obviously exaggerated) and his decent straight-line speed and said, “Hey, this guy is going to be good.” They just didn’t account for the fact that football is a sport played by athletes, not just big dudes who happen to not be crippled.

As for the impact of Lalota’s transfer on the team itself, it once again hurts Michigan’s APR (just like Vladimir Emilien . . . and Austin White . . . and Justin Turner . . . and numerous others). The number of guys transferring out of the University of Michigan borders on ridiculous. No, wait – it is ridiculous. Michigan was nearing the danger line prior to the season. Since then, four additional guys have left the team. I once again have to point out that I’m not impressed with Rich Rodriguez’s retention rate. Many of these guys don’t seem to be giving the football program much of a shot at Michigan before bailing out. I understand being frustrated about playing time, but he’s a redshirt freshman. What liar told him he would be able to start for a Big Ten team by his second year in college? Whoever that liar is, I hope Anthony Lalota doesn’t trust him anymore.

Meanwhile, Michigan’s Class of 2011 just went from 18 to a size of 19. Guys like Anthony Zettel, Deion Barnes, James Adeyanju, and Ray Drew could take Lalota’s spot. Michigan already needed one defensive end in the class. Since both Van Bergen and Watson are redshirt juniors (and Watson might be a longshot to return for a fifth year), I expect Michigan to take at least one more defensive end in the class, maybe two.

21Aug 2010
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The Effect of the Troy Woolfolk Injury on Recruiting

There was immediate frustration felt by Michigan fans upon Troy Woolfolk’s ankle injury, and that injury will have a ripple effect on the team and Michigan’s recruiting. As a true senior in 2010, Woolfolk’s eligibility status throws an interesting wrench into the plans to recruit for 2011.

Woolfolk’s senior status had Michigan fans and recruiting gurus planning to “take him off the books” for 2011, who assumed that his scholarship could be used toward bringing in a new recruit. I presume that Woolfolk will now return for a fifth year of eligibility in 2011. As a solid Big Ten starter with NFL measurables, Woolfolk had a chance to be a mid-round pick in the NFL Draft next year. Assuming that he recovers fully from his injury, that potential still remains but will likely be postponed until the 2012 NFL Draft.

According to my unofficial calculations, Michigan would have had 17 scholarships to give in the Class of 2011. Twelve seniors should be graduating, and five scholarships are unused. Ten of those scholarships have been filled up to this point. However, since Woolfolk will probably return for a fifth season, that number of graduating seniors drops to 11 and the total scholarships available drops to 16. And despite the fact that Michigan’s cornerback depth is very thin, Michigan should return at least three cornerbacks with starting experience in 2011 – the presumed 2010 starters in J.T. Floyd and Cullen Christian; and Woolfolk. And although it wasn’t completely necessary for Michigan to bring in an immediate-impact corner in the Class of 2011, now that need has likely been diminished even further.

Michigan already has two cornerbacks committed for 2011. The goal for a number of defensive backs may have swelled to four by Signing Day, but if Woolfolk returns, the need for a fourth DB disappears. There are now six scholarships available, and Michigan can only afford to use a maximum of one of those remaining scholarships for the defensive backfield. Here’s how I see those scholarships being used:

1. Running back: Demetrius Hart is the most likely option, as long as Michigan’s season goes fairly well.
2. Tight end: There are no impending commitments, but a WR/TE tweener could be offered and commit, such as Ben McCord.
3. Wide receiver: More depth is needed at wide receiver, especially with Darryl Stonum, Junior Hemingway, and Martavious Odoms being seniors in 2011. AJ Jordan is a possibility.
4 and 5. Offensive line: Anthony Zettel offers some position flexibility, which would be helpful with needs at both OL and DL. Chris Bryant would also be an option.
6. Defensive tackle: There’s talent already at defensive tackle, but not a lot of bodies. Michigan needs one big body in the middle.

Cornerback isn’t as pressing of a need as those other positions. Including Woolfolk and the two current Class of 2011 needs, Michigan will have seven cornerbacks on the roster in 2011. As mentioned, at least three of them will have starting experience. The needs at TE, WR, OL, and DT are more pressing. Interestingly, the position Michigan least needs to recruit is the running back spot, but Demetrius Hart is the highest-rated and most anticipated Michigan target at this point. If no additional scholarships open up and Hart commits elsewhere, I would not be surprised to see Michigan go without a running back in this recruiting cycle.

Addendum: If 2010 commitments Conelius Jones and Antonio Kinard end up qualifying and enroll in January, that could add more twists to the scholarship situation. However, usually it seems that Michigan’s non-qualifiers don’t end up at Michigan, so I’m not counting on them being a part of the picture.

2Jun 2010
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Rivals100 released

South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney
Rivals released its initial top 100 rankings today at 1:00 p.m. A cadre of Michigan targets litter the Rivals100, making it a very interesting list. To the best of my knowledge, these are the 42 players who have been offered by Michigan:

1. Jadeveon Clowney, DE – South Carolina
3. James Wilder, Jr., RB – Florida
4. George Farmer, WR – California
7. Cyrus Kouandjio, OT – Maryland
8. Curtis Grant, ILB – Virginia
11. Lawrence Thomas, DE – Michigan (Michigan State)
12. Christian Westerman, OT – Texas (Texas)
13. Mike Bellamy, RB – Florida
18. Jarvis Landry, WR – Louisiana (LSU)
19. Gregory Robinson, OT – Louisiana
22. Mike Blakeley, RB – Florida
23. Doran Grant, CB – Ohio
27. Kris Frost, LB – North Carolina
28. Hasean Clinton-Dix, S – Florida (Alabama)
30. Michael Bennett, DT – Ohio (Ohio State)
32. Matt Hegarty, OG – New Mexico (Notre Dame)
34. Demetrius Hart, RB – Florida
37. Karlos Williams, S – Florida (Florida State)
39. Sammy Watkins, WR – Florida
40. Jay Rome, TE – Georgia
45. Tim Jernigan, DT – Florida
49. DeAnthony Arnett, WR – Michigan
55. Josh Turner, CB – Oklahoma
56. Braxton Miller, QB – Ohio
57. Savon Huggins, RB – New Jersey
58. Anthony Zettel, OG – Michigan
62. Kiehl Frazier, QB – Arkansas (Auburn)
65. Christian LeMay, QB – North Carolina (Georgia)
66. Desmond Jackson, DT – Texas (Texas)
70. Bobby Hart, OG – Florida
72. Cyrus Hobbi, OG – Arizona
73. Tyler Moore, OG – Florida (Nebraska)
74. Brandon Shell, OT – South Carolina
75. Justice Hayes, RB – Michigan
81. Andre Yruretagoyena, OT – Arizona
85. Wayne Lyons, S – Florida
87. Marqise Lee, S – California
88. Andrew Buie, RB – Florida
91. Charone Peake, WR – South Carolina
93. Trey DePriest, LB – Ohio
95. Lamar Dawson, LB – Kentucky
97. Giorgio Newberry, OT – Florida

Michigan has a fighting chance with many of these players, but running back Demetrius Hart and offensive guard/defensive end Anthony Zettel are the only two that seem to have Michigan as their clear front-runner. If Michigan starts winning more, maybe their chances with more of these players will increase. Regardless, it’s somewhat nice to see that Michigan’s early offers align themselves with analysts’ ratings, too.