Transcript of today's live chat with U-M recruiting guru Josh Helmholdt FREE PRESS SPORTS STAFF • February 20, 2009
Miss today's live chat with Michigan recruiting expert Josh Helmholdt from TheWolverine.com? Here's the full transcript.
10:30 Josh Helmholdt: Hello recruiting fans. I'm here and ready to answer your questions.
10:30 [Keith]: Lack of depth at defensive tackle appears to be a concern. Will there be any late additions to this year's class at that position?
10:32 Josh Helmholdt: The lack of available talent at the DT left in the 2009 class makes it unlikely they will add another one in the 2009 class. If there was one left out there, though, who was worthy of an offer they no doubt would still be targeting that guy. Look for them to recruit the position hard in 2010
10:32 [Matt (AA)]:Do we have a shot at Gardner, and who do you feel will be better, Gardner or Bolden?
10:33 Josh Helmholdt: Michigan definitely has a good shot at Inkster QB Devin Gardner. He dropped Ohio State this past week and that was the team he grew up following, so that increases Michigan's chances that much more. Right now they have a better shot of landing Gardner than Bolden.
Michigan offers another quarterback prospect for 2010 BY JOSH HELMHOLDT • FREE PRESS SPECIAL WRITER • February 24, 2009
In the wake of quarterback Steven Threet’s transfer, the Michigan coaching staff is working to ensure they have the talent and depth at that position in the future they did not have last season.
Rich Rodriguez’s plan is to pursue the nation’s top quarterbacks and the class of 2010 is exceptionally deep with dual-threat prospects.
Michigan made their first scholarship offer to Inkster’s Devin Gardner this past summer. Since then, the Wolverines have offered five additional class of 2010 quarterbacks, including Orchard Lake St. Mary’s prospect Robert Bolden. Their most recent offer went to Gainesville, Ga., record-setting passer Blake Sims.
The 6-foot, 180-pound Sims threw for 2,785 yards, rushed for more than 1,000 yards and accounted for 42 touchdowns. Sims boasts 4.5 speed in the 40-yard dash and has the dual-threat capabilities Rodriguez prefers.
Spartans, Wolverines set to battle for recruits in Ohio By MATT DORSEY • FREE PRESS SPECIAL WRITER • March 20, 2009
Since his arrival in East Lansing, MSU coach Mark Dantonio has made recruiting the state of Ohio a top priority. The Spartans have signed numerous solid prospects from the Buckeye State over the last few years. Some would argue that with the exception of Ohio State, no team in the Big Ten has done a better job a recruiting the state than Michigan State over the past few years.
One team that also recognizes Ohio's rich talent pool can’t all end up in Columbus is the University of Michigan. U-M coach Rich Rodriguez recruited Ohio well while at West Virginia has continued that trend upon his arrival in Ann Arbor.
Michigan and Michigan State are already expected to compete for top recruits in Michigan, but some of the most important recruiting battles will likely be over players who call Ohio home. The Buckeyes have just 14 seniors on their roster, so Ohio State is not expected to sign a large class in 2010. That means that more high-level prospects will be looking out of state if they want to play in the Big Ten.
Several top Ohio players have already been offered by both Michigan State and Michigan, and their recruitments could heat up significantly over the coming months.
Latwan Anderson (Lakewood St. Edwards) is one of the top safety prospects in the nation for the class of 2010. With offers from a host of Big Ten schools, including Michigan and Michigan State, Anderson is already a hot commodity. He is ranked the No. 66 prospect in the nation by Rivals.com. Anderson is in the process of narrowing down his list and plans on having a final five. Two of the schools he says will definitely be on his final list are the Spartans and Wolverines.
U-M QB update: Forcier called 'slippery,' Robinson runs 10.28 By MARK SNYDER • FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER • April 6, 2009
• Linebacker Obi Ezeh gave mgoblue.com his assessment of spring practice, saying Steve Brown and Donovan Warren stood out on defense and freshman defensive lineman Will Campbell and converted D-lineman Vince Helmuth were making plays. And Ezeh gave a bit of a description on freshman quarterback Tate Forcier's style: "I feel like the play doesn't start until he starts scrambling. You've got to play to the whistle and keep your eye on him. Very slippery."
• Apparently, U-M recruit Denard Robinson keeps getting faster. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported that the quarterback ran a 10.28 100-meter dash in a meet last Wednesday, on the heels of his 10.44 the previous week. While it's unclear whether that was hand-timed or electronic, in Michigan it would be a state record, beating the mark of 10.44 set at the 2006 Division 2 state meet by Clinton Allen of Muskegon Orchard View.
• The oral commitment of Inkster quarterback Devin Gardner for 2010 reinforces what coach Rich Rodriguez keeps saying: There will be constant competition at every position, even quarterback. If Forcier or Robinson establishes himself this fall, Rodriguez may still throw the 2010 recruits into the mix, just to see if there is something better. But Gardner would be talented enough to play another position if it came to that.
Defense evolving under new coordinator Greg Robinson By MARK SNYDER • FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER • April 5, 2009
Stevie Brown started every game last year, but didn't have the impact many expected.
In new coordinator Greg Robinson's defense, Brown's role is expected to evolve.
"He's going to be a multipositional player for us," coach Rich Rodriguez said before practice Thursday. "Obviously, he's playing a lot of nickel back, in kind of a nickel-back situation. It's kind of a hybrid of an outside linebacker/strong safety position, which I think he's perfectly suited for.
"He's had an outstanding spring, he's still learning some of the new things of the new defense we're doing, but I'm going to be very disappointed if Stevie doesn't have a great senior year, because he's put the work in, he's got a great attitude. He's got to be one of the leaders because we don't have a lot of veterans on that side of the ball this fall."
In Robinson's defense, the safety is asked to do a lot, making a fast and strong player -- such as 6-foot-3, 211-pound redshirt freshman Brandon Smith -- a key component. Smith's biggest drawback is inexperience.
Latest U-M commit proves Rich Rodriguez likes big RBs BY JOSH HELMHOLDT • FREE PRESS SPECIAL WRITER • April 14, 2009
When Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez was hired, some speculated the era of big running backs, like Anthony Thomas and Tyrone Wheatly, was over in Ann Arbor and only smaller, quick backs suited his spread offense. However, U-M's most recent commitment debunks that idea.
Flower Mound (Texas) Marcus running back Stephen Hopkins is 6-foot and 220 pounds. His style could be compared to Thomas' or even current U-M back Brandon Minor, proving Rodriguez wants to maintain a balanced roster of big and small tailbacks.
"My biggest concern coming up here was figuring out how they would use me in the offense if I was to commit to Michigan,” Hopkins said. “(U-M running backs) Coach (Fred) Jackson felt that I was a combination of both a big back and small back because I have some quickness along with my size. I felt I fit pretty well and so did he."
Hopkins was one of more than three dozen recruits at the Wolverines' spring game Saturday at Michigan Stadium. He flew in with his father the day before and by the end of the game, he knew he was going to be a Wolverine.
...and the best news of all, after me phoning and complaining to my sattelite provider last year, and then personally e-mailing the vice-president, they are offering the Big Ten Network as a pay channel this year up here in the Great White North (Canada), so now I'll get to watch more than just a couple Wolverines games this year!!!!!!!!!! GO BLUE!!!
Fantasy Football: "Luck is where preparation meets opportunity"
The latest Greg Paulus insanity: To Michigan? Really?
By Eamonn Brennan
Tuesday, I wrote this oh-so-funny-ha-ha post about how Greg Paulus, former Duke player and charge-taker extraordinaire, was offered a tryout by the Green Bay Packers. Yes, the football team. Yes, the professional one. You see, Paulus was a very good high school quarterback in his day, and before he decided to play basketball at Duke he had his veritable choice of footballing institutions. Instead, he chose four years under Coach K. Whoops.
I thought that would be the end of the Paulus football story. Packers try him out. Packers realize he's Greg Paulus. Packers send him home. The end.
No, no, of course that's not the end: Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez isn't just offering Paulus a tryout, he's apparently 100 percent interested in Paulus starting for the Wolverines this fall. You can practically smell the insanity:
According to sources close to the situation, the former Duke point guard was in Ann Arbor on Tuesday meeting with Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez about the possibility of playing this season for the Wolverines. [...] Sources also told FOXSports.com that Paulus, who worked out last Thursday for the Packers in Durham, N.C., has been contacted by a half-dozen NFL teams and several other college programs.
Goodman reports that Paulus had planned on continuing his basketball career, but was "caught off-guard" by a Packers scout wanting him to take a tryout. Hey, Greg, so were we! And now the word has gotten back to Rodriguez at Michigan, who is apparently so desperate for a quarterback he'll take a one-year flyer on a guy that hasn't taken a snap since his final high school game four years ago. (This is where I step back and refer you Dr. Saturday's eventual take on the matter; my diagnosis of the Wolverine program would be far less thorough.)
In any case, Greg Paulus in a football uniform seems borderline insane. But what do I know? I thought Paulus' four years at Duke meant his college eligibility was spent. In this brave new world, anything is possible.
Update: For more on Paulus, see MJD's Packers-related take and, for Michigan's angle, that promised Dr. Saturday post.