Connect with us

U-M Football

Are we starting to see end of Jim Harbaugh’s recruiting magic for Michigan?

Published

on

Recruiting in today’s college football world is really just one giant marketing campaign, and arguably there is no better self-promoter for his team than Michigan head football coach Jim Harbaugh.

Few coaches have had the media wrapped around his finger like Harbaugh has, masterfully using them to get his messages out as necessary and shutting them out as he needs as well. Keeping his name and the ‘Block M’ relevant on the national media scene has been great for the publicity the Michigan football program has gotten.

It also has helped to land some of the best recruiting classes and top individual recruits in the country as well.

Last season that resulted in the No. 5 class in the country and the landing of the No. 1 player in the country, defensive tackle Rashan Gary.

This offseason was much the same as the first, with the national media eating up every word Harbaugh has spoken and every tweet he has sent out. Feuding with the SEC over satellite camps, taking on OSU athletic director Gene Smith and being seen with as many sports and non-sports celebes as humanly possible.

Heck, Michigan became the first football team in the country to be able to sport the ‘jumpman’ logo of Michael Jordan’s brand within the Nike fold.

A lot of that has been in the hopes of making Michigan football cool again if you will.

Image matters when you are a blue blood program, and there’s little doubt that Harbaugh has done a good job rehabbing a program that simply wasn’t in the mix at the top of the recruiting world let alone on the field.

However, it seems as if Harbaugh and his myriad of support staff have let the headlines and the hype get to their heads. That’s because three 4-star recruits have de-committed over the last three days and two of the three should be alarming to the Wolverines program because of the reasons behind it all.

First there was 4-star 2017 defensive tackle Aubery Solomon, who received a thank you note for attending the BBQ at the Big House. Only one problem, Solomon didn’t even attend the event.

Things got worse for the Wolverines, as they sent the note to him with his name spelled incorrectly.

Independently, these two aren’t that big of a deal as mistakes happen, but together its embarrassing when you are trying to convince 17-year-old kids that you love them and have their best interests at heart over the next four or five years.

“A day or two ago, they sent my mom a card thanking us for going to the Michigan bbq, but we never went,” Solomon told the Georgia 247Sports site. “I do not know which recruit they were talking to, but it was not me. It was just a little heartbreaking, for me to supposedly be so high on their list, for them to confuse me with someone else. Plus they spelled both of my names wrong after I told them, but that was not the main issue. I guess they do not have tabs on me.”

Needless to say, Solomon has decided to decommit from Michigan.

Then, word got out that two 4-star recruits in the 2018 class have also decided to decommit from the program as well. Springfield (OH) 2018 four-star athlete Leonard Taylor also decommitted from the program on Monday, announcing his decision via Twitter.

The final decommitment in a 24-hour period came from 4-star 2018 offensive lineman Jalil Irvin. Although Irvin also named the Wolverines as his “dream school.”

Some will tell you that it isn’t time to panic, and they would be right. After all, recruiting is a brutal game between August and the first Wednesday in February, let alone over a year ago and there’s time for the Wolverines to hit on top targets between now and then.

The problem is, all three show one thing in common — a lack of relationship being developed between the coaches and the players they are recruiting and accepting commitments from.

There is little excuse for Michigan’s lack of attention to detail and its pure lack of knowledge of who did and didn’t even attend its own summer recruiting event. Those types of mistakes can just as easily brand a program on the recruiting trail as all of the media-driven hype has done to get the Wolverines back in the picture for big time prospects around the nation.

Michigan has already dropped three spots in the 2017 national recruiting rankings by 247Sports, sitting at No. 10 with the decommitment of Solomon. When you are competing against a team like Ohio State in the East division and on the recruiting trail, these types of negative stories could have a way of snowballing.

When said arch-rival is racking up 5-star commitments like they are going out of style and you can’t even know who did and didn’t attend your recruiting events, you’ve got a problem — perceived or in reality.

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

Continue Reading
Comments

U-M Football

Can Shea Patterson transfer finally be the answer at QB for Michigan?

Shea Patterson arrives at Michigan with pedigree and production, will it transform the QB position enough to matter for the Wolverines?

Published

on

There’s no way around it — 2017 was not the year everyone expected to see from the Michigan Wolverines. A one-time national title contender (no seriously) turned in to an 8-4 team that finished fourth in the Big Ten East division.

Many have pinpointed the issues at quarterback as a large reason for that struggle.

It would be an easy and correct assumption, as 2017 was an unmitigated disaster at QB for the Wolverines. Michigan’s quarterbacks combined to complete just 54.5 percent of their passes for just 2,023 yards and nine touchdowns to eight interceptions.

Yes, that was nine touchdowns in 12 games played by three different quarterbacks for Michigan in 2017.

Apparently the coaching staff believes that was a major issue as well, as they went hard after Ole Miss quarterback Shea Patterson once he announced his intention to transfer from the program.

On Monday, Patterson announced he would be enrolling at Michigan as a transfer.

We’ll have to wait and see if the NCAA allows him to immediately become eligible, but that shouldn’t be an issue given Ole Miss’ NCAA penalties. He doesn’t qualify as a soon-to-be senior, so he will have to apply for and be granted a waiver. That appears not to be a major hurdle, but one can never assume when it comes to the NCAA waiver decisions these days.

As for Michigan, Patterson is the second transfer quarterback Michigan has brought in during the Jim Harbaugh era. The first was John O’Korn from Houston.

O’Korn never took full control of the Wolverines offense, ending his career as the third option on the depth chart before being forced back on to the field thanks to multiple injuries at the QB position.

But, Patterson is not O’Korn — in so much as Patterson has actually proven to be a quality quarterback and isn’t transferring because he is being pushed out at his old school.

He threw for 2,259 yards and 17 touchdowns in seven games at Ole Miss in 2017, before suffering a season-ending tear to his right posterior cruciate ligament.

So, there is risk in bringing Patterson in to the fold. Will he be 100 percent back to normal in 2018 or will the injury keep him from progressing? That’s likely not an issue though, as the PCL tear isn’t the most significant of knee injuries. Additionally, Patterson comes with a great pedigree on the recruiting trail.

He was the No. 1 rated pro-style quarterback in the 2015 class, started and played in his freshman season in 2016 and did work in his sophomore year in 2017.

While this move may smack of desperation for Michigan, these are desperate times in Ann Arbor. The lack of championship football is starting to wear off the shine of Harbaugh’s hire four years ago.

It’s also a good move for depth alone, as Michigan will see both O’Korn and Wilton Speight out of the program. Speight has declared his intention to transfer already.

That would leave just Brandon Peters and Dylan McCaffrey on the depth chart.

Patterson has the experience and production advantage on both and the offense should be familiar to him as Ole Miss runs a pro-style offense.

Given the lack of production at QB since Harbaugh’s arrival, something has to change. Will Patterson’s addition be the change that is needed?

Clearly the quarterback position needs to get stronger. Adding Patterson does that, but it remains to be seen if it will be the transformational move that has been lacking since Harbaugh arrived.

If he can’t get the quarterback position right again in 2018, Harbaugh may not be long for the job everyone thought he’d have for a lifetime as long as he wanted it.

Continue Reading

Football

Dantonio, Harbaugh jab at each other after bowl game selections

Published

on

Rivalries have no offseason, and that certainly is the case for Michigan State when it comes to in-state rival Michigan. That’s especially the case when bowl season rolled around in 2017.

That’s because Michigan is headed to Tampa Bay to play in the Outback Bowl, while Michigan State is off the…gasp…horrific site of San Diego for its bowl game.

No. 16 Michigan State is slated to play No. 18 Washington State in easily the best non-New Years Six bowl game the Big Ten has, while Michigan gets South Carolina. Despite the disparity in location and quality of opponent, some felt the Spartans were slighted.

Dantonio was asked if the program felt slighted by not playing on New Year’s Day, and this was his response:

It was a clear dig at the Wolverines, whom the Spartans have owned since Dantonio took over as head coach at Michigan State.

Harbaugh just couldn’t let that go, responding back on Twitter on Monday.

Backhanded compliment much?

It’s clear these two don’t get along much, because usually these things get settled behind closed doors. Instead, Harbaugh took a very public jab at Dantonio and all the off-field issues that took place over the last year and a half.

Who will get the ultimate last word? Well, this season that was certainly Michigan State. Not only did the Spartans beat Michigan, but they finished second in the East division, while Michigan faltered to an 8-4 finish in the regular season.

If anything, this should fuel an offseason of rivalry fun between these two programs.

Continue Reading

Football

Michigan fans respond to John O’Korn with death threats following loss to OSU

John O’Korn leaves heartfelt message following loss to Michigan and some fans respond with death threats and more.

Published

on

Michigan was supposed to be an East division contender and a national power this season, but that didn’t happen the way some in the media thought it would. Instead, Michigan lost for the seventh straight season to hated rival Ohio State on Saturday to cap off a disappointing 8-4 regular season.

Naturally, the worst in Michigan fandom came out following the 31-20 loss. The biggest target of their ire? Backup quarterback John O’Korn, who had to fill in for an injured Brandon Peters.

A late interception by O’Korn didn’t help in a close game at home against the Buckeyes. It also led to some rather horrible abuse on Twitter — including advice to “kill yourself” and death threats due to this loss.

It couldn’t get much worse than this nugget:

Keeping it classy as always happens on Twitter, Michigan Twitter fans also went with the classic burn of “Yo Momma”

Then of course there were the more mild and idiotic Tweets. You know, things like the classic “you blow” burn and the like.

Sometimes Twitter really is the worst of humanity. Luckily, these tweets were a small sampling compared to the overwhelming group that showed support and thanks for the efforts of O’Korn and the Michigan team despite the loss.

Yes, losing to your arch-rival in a football game doesn’t feel very good. Yes, fans are going to get riled up continually losing those kind of games.

Sadly, this isn’t the first time this season something like this has happened to a Michigan quarterback. It all started with the vocal criticism and threats made to former starter, Wilton Speight.

Here’s a small piece of advice — if you feel the need to tell someone to kill themselves or to threaten them with death — put the Twitter machine down, walk away and don’t ever come back to it. Seriously? As much as we all love football, it is just a game at the end of the day and wishing death on someone because they didn’t play the way you wanted them is about as low as it gets.

O’Korn clearly left everything he had on the field for the Wolverines. Was it good enough to win this game? No.

But, what more can you ask for from any player other than to give it all for their team.

While O’Korn and the Wolverines lost the game, those who threatened him and the team following it are the ones losing at life.

Get over yourselves and move on with life. One loss by a team you support shouldn’t define your life. If so, it’s truly a sad one and we feel sorry for you.

Continue Reading

U-M Football

Michigan embracing spoiler role, hoping for miracle finish

Michigan’s once-hopeful season reduced to playing spoiler and hoping for a miracle East division title.

Published

on

This isn’t how the final two games of the season were supposed to be set up. Michigan had Wisconsin and Ohio State in a perfect back-to-back weekend scenario to end the season.

Win those games and it should be off to the College Football Playoff, right?

Instead, two losses have already piled up for the Wolverines and the hopes of an East division title are but gone. So too is any talk of a College Football Playoff berth, which most in the national media were openly talking about going in to the season.

Some wonder where the Wolverines will rank on Tuesday night in the latest College Football Playoff poll, especially given the chaos in front of them over the past two weeks. But, at 8-2 on the season and 5-2 in Big Ten, does the ranking really matter much at this point?

For players and coaches it appears the motivation is going to be about spoiling the season’s of the next two opponents and letting the chips fall where they may.

“I’m not really worried about that (the College Football Playoff ranking),” fifth-year center Patrick Kugler told reporters on Monday, via MLive.com. “Wisconsin is next. We can still be a 10-win team and kind of ruin people’s seasons. That’s kind of my goal right now.”

Kugler continued that theme noting a 10-2 season could theoretically get them in to the Big Ten championship game. He also noted that this team is going to embrace ruining someone else’s season.

“It’s kind of fun to ruin people’s seasons,” Kugler said. “We can be 10-2 and still make the Big Ten championship. It’s just kind of fun. To go in there, a hostile environment like Wisconsin, if we can come out of there with a victory, there’s nothing better than that.”

It is good news the team is staying positive, but also tells you how far adrift from expectations this season has gotten.

Embracing a villain’s role?

Hoping to play spoiler in the two biggest games on the schedule?

This is what Michigan’s season as been reduced to — a focus on what winning would do to the teams on the other side of the field.

That should tell you all you need to know really. Michigan’s season is reduced to playing the “we’ve got a chip on our shoulders” card and hoping someone else can help them make a miracle run to the Big Ten championship game.

Of course, it’s not an impossible task ahead of them, but as far as this season has told us it certainly feels that way.

Yet, Michigan’s players are still talking a big game.

“This whole week in practice, we’re going to be getting after each other, making sure everything’s perfect,” said Rashan Gary, via MLive.com. “We got an opportunity in front of us and we don’t want to let it go.”

Michigan’s coaches and players have sung this same tune before, especially leading up to its annual rivalry game against Ohio State. Yet, all that talk hasn’t amounted to a win in that series since 2011 and the Wolverines have generally struggled against ranked opponents over the course of the 2010’s.

The Wolverines are just 7-19 in games against ranked opponents since the start of the 2010 season. This is clearly a long-term problem, one that has admittedly gotten better since the start of the Harbaugh era.

Michigan is currently 5-5 against ranked opponents since 2015, but are just 2-4 against ranked Big Ten opponents and both of those wins came at home.

Then there’s the matter of the reality of the actual teams they have to face over the next two weeks.

How is Michigan’s offense going to be able to score on that Wisconsin defense? How will Michigan’s defense cope with the high-powered offense of Ohio State?

With so much money spent to try to bring Michigan back to national prominence, finding answers to those questions is the only way to salvage this season.

Then again, this is a program that had supreme confidence heading in to each and every season so far under Harbaugh. Each and every one of those seasons has ended in disappointment of one kind or another.

It’s that track record that makes all of this talk hard to buy in to once again.

Until the Wolverines show it on the field against a quality opponent on the road, perhaps all of this is best left unsaid to the public?

Continue Reading

talking10 Podcast

Most Popular

Copyright © 2018 talking10.com. This site is not affiliated with, endorsed or sponsored by the Big Ten Conference. It is intended for informational and entertainment purposes only and is no way associated with the NCAA, the Big Ten or any member institutions.