Michigan Wolverines: Missouri Tigers

Chicago NFTC Notebook 

April, 13, 2014
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There wasn’t a huge crop of prospects at the Chicago NFTC, but there were plenty of top recruits looking to prove their worth against their peers.

After an outstanding Elite 11 performance Saturday morning and going through passing drills later in the day, Missouri quarterback commit Drew Lock earned the camp's only invite to The Opening and Elite 11.

Early Offer: Michigan quickly moves on 

November, 15, 2013
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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: After missing out on Da'Shawn Hand, Michigan didn’t waste time trying to fill its need at defensive end; can Texas become a factor for the nation’s No. 1 prospect?, and how many elite players are still up for grabs?

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Early Offer: Mixon all mixed up 

November, 7, 2013
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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: Just when it seemed clear on what four-star running back Joe Mixon was thinking, an official visit to Florida State has seemingly brought his decision back to square one; two of the top recruits in Ohio were hoping to make a decision in early January, but the success of their high school teams might change those plans; Missouri and Tennessee made nice climbs in the latest RecruitingNation class rankings.

Mixon mixed up

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Big Ten Friday mailblog

October, 11, 2013
10/11/13
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Thanks for all your questions and answers. Enjoy the games this weekend.

Don't forget: Twitter is the best way to follow us on game days.

Phil from Vancouver, Wash., writes: Lets assume Ohio State runs the table and goes undefeated. If Wisconsin can win out and end up 10-1-0-1 (W-L-T-Screwed), where do you see them ending up for a bowl? With the BIG No. 5 in AQ leagues, I don't see them in the BCS.

Adam Rittenberg: It depends on so many factors, Phil. If Ohio State doesn't make the national title game and goes to the Rose Bowl, the chances of the Big Ten receiving an at-large BCS berth go down. If the Rose Bowl loses a Big Ten team to the national title game, it likely would look for a Big Ten replacement, as long as one is eligible. Would the Rose want Wisconsin for a fourth consecutive year? Tough to tell. There are also other conferences in play, and right now you'd have to expect the SEC and Pac-12 to each send two teams to BCS bowls. And as long as Clemson and Florida State don't both fall apart, both teams are likely BCS bowl bound as well. The advantage Wisconsin would have is a long win streak to end the season, as opposed to a possible loss in the league title game, which often is the kiss of death when it comes to at-large berths.


Ian from Tacoma, Wash., writes: Adam, I know there has been some talk from you and Brian recently in regard to conference perception and how it shapes top-25 rankings and the national championship picture, but I think this is becoming more of an issue than most folks realize. Why does Georgia scraping by a pretty lousy Tennessee team (that got slaughtered by Oregon) constitute a "tough road win" by the so-called experts, yet Ohio State's road win against top-15 Northwestern gets ignored? Even further, why does Ohio State get lambasted every week for their schedule, while Oregon gets constant media praise, despite having played a MISERABLE slate of games so far? Oregon is getting credit for games they haven't played yet, while Ohio State gets punished for games it hasn't played yet. I'm getting pretty frustrated with the inconsistency and hypocrisy in how teams are portrayed, simply because of the conference in which they compete.

Adam Rittenberg: Ian, I hear ya, and Ohio State should be getting more credit for finding ways to win against good teams despite making some mistakes along the way. Georgia's win at Tennessee was vastly overvalued because the Bulldogs had so many injuries. Tennessee is mediocre at best. The Oregon example is interesting, because while Virginia and Tennessee aren't any good, it looks like the Ducks at least tried to schedule major-conference teams. Those quick to criticize Ohio State for living in cupcake city probably don't realize Vanderbilt canceled this year's game in Columbus. Vandy is no Alabama, but the Commodores are comparable to Virginia and Tennessee right now. And it's not Ohio State's fault that Cal is going through transition. Could Ohio State have done a little more with scheduling? Perhaps. But the bigger problem for the Buckeyes is the Big Ten's lousy perception, something Georgia and Oregon don't have to worry about.


Dan from Watercooler writes: True or false: Bo [Pelini's] long-term outlook with the Huskers should be more based on what he does this and maybe next season, vs. what happened last season. Reasoning: Bo's defense last season had all sorts of seniors, effectively meaning he had a cap on what he could draw from them talent-wise. We've seen glimpses of what the defense is capable of (see: first half UCLA, parts of Illinois) and can see the talent there, but it needs time to build. Counterpoint: Last year's defense consisted largely of talent he developed; he should have been able to recognize gaps in the defense and find ways to correct them.I'd give him the benefit of a doubt and say, with the seemingly more athletic players he has coming up, he should be judged more on what happens from here.

Adam Rittenberg: A nice breakdown from the water cooler, Dan. Nebraska's defense might be both younger and more talented this season. Pelini has alluded to it throughout the offseason, and I already see signs of more difference-makers with the Huskers D, especially in the front seven. That said, Pelini shouldn't get a pass for the struggles on defense last season because he brought in all of those players. Although Nebraska's move to the Big Ten probably didn't help a defense that had been shaped for the Big 12, the breakdowns in big games were inexcusable. This year's defense has had and will continue to have some growing pains, but if the unit isn't better in November than now, it falls on Pelini and the staff.


Matt from Baltimore writes: I was looking at this map of AAU schools, and I was trying to guess where the next Big Ten expansion could be. Assuming that any schools in the ACC, SEC, or Pac-12 will stay put, it looks like the most appealing school from a state bordering a Big Ten state is Kansas (a distant second is Iowa State). What do you think the odds are of a Big Ten land grab into Big 12 territory in the near future?

Adam Rittenberg: Ah, Matt, we must be overdue for an expansion question. Keep in mind that the Big 12 also has a grant of rights agreement, just like the ACC does, which makes it very difficult for schools to leave the league. The Big 12 also has great leadership now with Bob Bowlsby as commissioner. Although Texas could still send things into flux, I'd be surprised if more Big 12 schools jumped ship. The one league the Big Ten could look to, believe it or not, is the SEC, which amazingly doesn't have a grant of rights agreement. Anyone else think Missouri is a much better fit in the Big Ten than the SEC? Still, Mizzou would be giving up a lot, and I don't think the Big Ten wants to expand West when it has talked so much about being bi-regional and trying to bring in the northeast corridor. Problem is, there aren't any great candidates on the East Coast.


Matt from Iowa writes: Who will be the last to surrender a rushing touchdown, Iowa or Michigan?

Adam Rittenberg: I'm going with Michigan, especially since Iowa is off this week and the Wolverines face a Penn State team that, while lagging in rushing offense, has 11 rushing touchdowns through the first five games. I have Akeel Lynch scoring the game-winning touchdown for Penn State on Saturday, so I think the Wolverines' run of zero rush touchdowns ends.


Mike from Minneapolis writes: Thoughts on the selection committee? As a Nebraska fan, I'm not all that thrilled to see that if they come into the playoff discussion Osborne/Alvarez will have to leave the room and their fate will be decided by a group of southerners.

Adam Rittenberg: I'm glad you asked, Mike, as I didn't get much chance to address this last weekend. While I understand your concern about Nebraska and the ties that both Tom Osborne and Barry Alvarez have to the school, I couldn't be happier with these choices to represent the Big Ten on the committee. They're both home runs: smart football men who have served as administrations and have thick enough skin to handle the job after coaching major programs for a long time. Alvarez was the overwhelming choice among sitting athletic directors to represent the Big Ten when we conducted a poll back in July, and it would have been a close race between Alvarez and Osborne if Osborne still served as Nebraska's AD. Big Ten fans should be really pleased with these two.


Jon from Columbus writes: Adam, Michigan has allowed seven offensive TDs in five games so far, and yet ... and yet ... you're calling for PSU to score 38 on them on Saturday? I just don't see your reasoning based on any sound football analysis. Listen, Penn State might beat Michigan this week. But if it happens, it very likely won't come in a fireworks-filled offensive shootout.

Adam Rittenberg: Jon, maybe the score prediction is a little high, but Michigan has faced only one decent offense (Notre Dame) through the first five games -- the other four are ranked 106th or worse nationally -- and hasn't done much defensively to stand out aside from allowing no rushing touchdowns. Tommy Rees made plays against Michigan's secondary but couldn't avoid the turnover. Christian Hackenberg has more natural ability than Rees and poses a bigger challenge for the Wolverines, who still don't have any standouts on defense (Jake Ryan comes back soon). This is a great chance for Michigan's defense to stand out against a good quarterback in a tough road setting. But I expect to see quite a few points scored at Beaver Stadium.

Just a few days after stubbing its toe on the field, the Big Ten conference will try to right the ship in the recruiting world.

Larry Scott
Brad Bournival/ESPNESPN Junior 300 running back Larry Scott will make an unofficial visit to the Horseshoe this weekend.
From official visits to commitments, here’s a look at a few programs that highlight a busy time in this week’s Big Ten storylines.

Buckeye leafs

The fact Ohio State opened as 57-point favorites against Florida A&M didn’t scare off some big unofficial visitors, as ESPN Junior 300 running back Larry Scott -- L.J. for short -- out of Hubbard (Ohio) High School will lead a group of three big names with unofficial visits to the Horseshoe.


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The league office on Monday announced kickoff times and TV plans for Sept. 21 (Week 4) games around the league.

Details for Michigan's game at Connecticut won't be announced until next Monday, as the American Athletic Conference, which controls the game, will exercise a six-day pick. The American tells me the game will either kick off at noon ET or 8 p.m. ET, and be televised by ABC or ESPN. Final plans will be announced after Saturday's games.

Ready? Let's go ...

Noon ET
  • San Jose State at Minnesota, ESPN or ESPN2*
  • Western Michigan at Iowa, Big Ten Network
  • Florida A&M at Ohio State, Big Ten Network
3:30 p.m. ET
  • Michigan State at Notre Dame, NBC (previously announced)
  • Purdue at Wisconsin, ABC regional (ESPN or ESPN2 in outer markets)
  • Kent State at Penn State, Big Ten Network
  • Maine at Northwestern, Big Ten Network
  • South Dakota State at Nebraska, Big Ten Network
8 p.m. ET
  • Missouri at Indiana, Big Ten Network (previously announced)

*-final TV plan to be determined after Saturday's games
Justin Hilliard sees the ball and runs to it. Then he delivers a crushing blow.

That is the consensus on the 2015 Cincinnati St. Xavier linebacker who already holds 20 offers.


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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -- Michigan and Rutgers will be battling in the once-again redesigned Big Ten in the near future, but first the two programs could be going head to head for a 2014 recruit.

KJ Williams (Bethlehem, Pa./Liberty) has 10 offers but pegged Michigan and Rutgers as two programs standing out to him most.

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound receiver grew up liking the Wolverines, and Michigan was one of the first schools to offer Williams. He has built a solid relationship with the coaches already.

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It won’t be much of a break for Braden Smith (Olathe, Kan./Olathe) in a few weeks.

Then again, one of the most sought-after offensive guards in the nation wants to make sure he’s making the right choice when it comes to colleges.


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ESPN Watch List offensive tackle Roderick Johnson (Florissant, Mo./Hazelwood Central) is up to eight offers – four from the Big Ten, three from the SEC and one from the ACC. The spring could be the perfect time for Johnson’s recruiting to see a major spike.


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Watch List OT Bauer piling up offers 

February, 28, 2013
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As ESPN Watch List offensive tackle Andy Bauer (St. Louis/ De Smet) creeps up on 40 offers, he is reminded of two important yet unofficial rules to the recruiting game.

Network, first of all; and second, have fun.


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Vandy, Vols impress Watch List receiver 

February, 17, 2013
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CLEVES, Ohio -- The state of Tennessee is making a move for one Watch List prospect in the Midwest.

Class of 2014 receiver Dominique Booth (Indianapolis/Pike) added offers from Tennessee and Vanderbilt recently, and he made a return trip to Knoxville in January. It was his first time visiting the Volunteers under new coach Butch Jones, though.

“I’ve been to Tennessee before but it was real different with the new coaching staff,” Booth said. “I don’t know how to explain it, it’s a different atmosphere going on around there. Everybody’s a lot different. The last time [under former coach Derek Dooley] was real gloomy.

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Watch List WR Booth cuts to seven 

January, 22, 2013
1/22/13
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Watch List wide receiver Dominique Booth (Indianapolis, Ind./Pike) has a busy few months ahead of him.

The 2014 prospect, who released his top seven on Tuesday, plans to visit all seven of his top schools before he gives his verbal in April, which means the next two months will include plenty of travel, discussion and decision making.


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2014 OL has connections to Michigan 

December, 21, 2012
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Most high school football players dream only of playing in the NFL, but junior offensive lineman Reilly Gibbons (St. Petersburg, Fla./St. Petersburg Catholic) wants to take that one step further. Gibbons doesn't want to just play in the NFL, but hopes to one day become an attorney for the league.

Reilly Gibbons
Courtesy of Shannon Gibbons2014 OL Reilly Gibbons, the cousin of Michigan kicker Brendan Gibbons, likes a lot of what the Wolverines have to offer.
"[Reilly] wants to be an attorney like his mom, and there are a few local players that have been attorneys in the NFL that have been successful," Gibbons' dad, Shannon, said. "We have a few friends that have done that as well, and since sixth or seventh grade Reilly has wanted to help people, especially athletes."

The 6-foot-6, 272-pound lineman is well on his way to the first step of the process by gaining scholarship offers to top college programs across the country. Illinois, Miami (Fla), Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and West Virginia make up some of the schools that have already extended offers to Gibbons.

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Michigan to visit junior Dominique Booth 

December, 9, 2012
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One of the top Class of 2014 prospects in the Midwest, receiver Dominique Booth (Indianapolis/Pike) has had several of the Big Ten’s top programs already come by his school.

Michigan will be next.

“I know Michigan is coming this week,” Booth said.

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