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Monthly Archives: June 2010

Well, this offseason has just been filled with joy, hasn’t it? Official press release:

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — University of Michigan men’s basketball head coach John Beilein announced today (Wednesday, June 30) that redshirt-junior guard Laval Lucas-Perry (Flint, Mich./Flint Powers Catholic HS) has been dismissed from the program.

“The University of Michigan and our men’s basketball program has established expectations essential to the success of all students and athletes,” said Beilein. “These university and team standards have been clearly communicated to the team and Laval on numerous occasions through meetings, conferences and mentorship.

“Unfortunately, Laval has violated our team standards. Therefore, I have decided that he will no longer be a part of our basketball program. Given the fact that Laval is near the completion of his degree, he has been extended the offer to remain on scholarship for the 2010-11 academic year and graduate in May with our 2011 class.”

After transferring from the University of Arizona midway through his freshman season, Lucas-Perry has played 58 games for U-M averaging 5.6 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.4 assist per game.

For those counting scholarships, this does mean that Michigan will be able to bring in two additional class of 2011 recruits on top of commit Carlton Brundidge. Hopefully LLP can land on his feet, either in Ann Arbor or, if he chooses, elsewhere.

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It’s summer, the time when bloggers rack their brains for something — anything — to write about and college football fans count down the seconds until foot meets pigskin. So, welcome to my latest gimmick: The Michigan Football YouTube Bracket. I’m looking high and low for the best Michigan football moments ever captured on YouTube — divided into two categories: Game Performances/Game Winners and Spectacular Plays — and for you, the readers, to vote on the moment that stands out above the rest.

Today’s matchup features career-defining moments for two players with wildly divergent football careers — one, a Michigan legend and top NFL draft pick with a career full of spectacular games and plays; the other, a virtual unknown who appeared in just four career games but made an indelible mark with one play and his post-football life:

(2) The Braylon Game vs. Michigan State, 2004

(WARNING: Video contains NSFW audio/horrible rap in general. I strongly recommend a mute. Sadly, this is the best embeddable video of The Braylon Game that YouTube has to offer.)

Braylon Edwards had an outstanding, record-breaking career at U-M, full of incredible plays and huge game performances, but if you walk up to any true Michigan fan and start talking about “The Braylon Game,” their mind will immediately hearken back to October 30, 2004, and a chilly late-afternoon tilt against the hated Michigan State Spartans. Braylon’s final numbers — 11 receptions for 189 yards and three touchdowns — are eye-popping, but it the dramatic manner in which he compiled those numbers that cements this game as one of the most memorable in the history of our in-state rivalry. Facing a 27-10 deficit with 8:43 to play, Michigan opened up their attack, with freshman Chad Henne relying on Edwards to catch deep ball after deep ball to bring the Wolverines back from the brink of defeat. The rest, as they say, is history.

(7) Phil Brabbs’ unlikely kick upends Washington, 2002

Michigan opened the 2002 season against Washington with a lot of uncertainty surrounding the placekicker position — walk-ons Phil Brabbs and Troy Neinberg were battling with starting punter Adam Finley for the starting job, and the competition continued into the season opener. With the home crowd looking on in dismay, it appeared that Michigan’s kicking woes would cost them a victory against the 11th-ranked Huskies — Brabbs missed two field goals in the first half, and Neinberg blew a chance to take a late lead when he missed a 27-yard kick with just 1:24 remaining in the game. Down 29-28 with all three timeouts remaining, Michigan’s defense held fast, and the Wolverines got the ball back on their own 42-yard line with no timeouts, and, it appeared, no reliable kicker.

After a controversial fumble call on fourth-and-two gave Michigan a first down, Washington gifted the Wolverines 15 yards of field position when they were flagged for too many men on the field, giving U-M one final chance to kick in the winner from 44 yards out. Lloyd Carr went back to Brabbs, who rewarded his coach’s decision by booming the deciding kick right between the uprights, setting off pandemonium in the Big House. Although Brabbs would lose his job later in the season after going hitting just two of his next six field goals, his kick at redemption will never be forgotten by Michigan fans. Years later, the kick has taken on new meaning, as Brabbs is fighting a very public battle with Multiple Myeloma. The bravery Brabbs has shown in dealing with this very serious form of cancer has reflected the same strength of will that allowed him to step back onto the field against Washington and nail that kick, and today we can all admire him for that strength both on and off the field.

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Recap:

Game Performances/Winners 1-seed vs. 8-seed: Anthony Carter vs. Indiana against Mario Manningham vs. Michigan State

Game Performances/Winners 4-seed vs. 5-seed: Mario Manningham vs. Penn State against Remy Hamilton vs. Notre Dame

Game Performances/Winners 3-seed vs. 6-seed: Tim Biakabutuka vs. Ohio State against Mario Manningham vs. Notre Dame

Honorable Mentions

It’s a big day for Michigan football recruiting, as TheWolverine.com is reporting the team has pulled in a second commitment today ($): Lake Nona (FL) quarterback Kevin Sousa. Sousa is a three-star dual-threat quarterback to all three recruiting services, and he held offers from Colorado State, Duke, Illinois, Louisville, South Florida, Texas Tech, Wake Forest, and West Virginia, among others. He is the second player to give a verbal commitment to Michigan in the past few hours, with he and Toledo offensive lineman Jack Miller becoming the Wolverines’ sixth and seventh commits.

Sousa was extended a scholarship offer by Rich Rodriguez’s coaching staff last week, and he was in Ann Arbor on a visit today when he accepted that offer . It is a near-certainty that Sousa will be the only quarterback Michigan takes in this class — with Devin Gardner entering his freshman year and two sophomores battling for the starting job (as well as few blue-chip options available for the Wolverines in the class of 2011), Michigan will be very content to have Sousa in the class and call it a day.

As a prospect, the Sousa is a very intriguing one: he didn’t start playing football until his sophomore year of high school (HT: MGoBlog), but with a 6-2, 213 pound frame, solid athleticism (Rivals lists his 40-yard dash time as 4.69 seconds) and a ton of raw talent, there is a lot of potential here. With no pressure to play early, Sousa will have a lot of time to develop the mechanics and instinct for the game he will need to succeed at the collegiate level — he will be a player to keep a very close eye on a few years down the road. The potential he shows is very exciting: check out his junior year highlights (part one, part two) and his sophomore highlights (remember, his first year playing football) for proof. Sousa is a great pickup for Michigan, and it certainly appears Ann Arbor will be a great fit for him.

Michigan has picked up its sixth verbal commitment in the class of 2011, as TheWolverine.com is reporting that Toledo (OH) offensive lineman Jack Miller made his pledge to the Wolverines today ($).

The 6-4, 268 pound Miller appears to be a very versatile athlete — he is listed as a three-star defensive end by all three recruiting services, but according to MGoBlog’s TomVH, Miller is being recruited by Michigan as an interior offensive lineman.  The Wolverines are expected to take several offensive linemen (probably four or five) this year after Christian Pace was the sole O-line recruit in Michigan’s 2010 class.

Miller amassed an impressive list of offers for a three-star prospect, including Boston College, Cincinnati, Illinois, Michigan State, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Stanford, and West Virginia, to go along with interest from Notre Dame and Ohio State.

For more on Miller’s commitment, check out MGoBlog’s commit post and his ScoutingOhio.com page, which includes highlights of Miller playing on both sides of the ball.

It’s summer, the time when bloggers rack their brains for something — anything — to write about and college football fans count down the seconds until foot meets pigskin. So, welcome to my latest gimmick: The Michigan Football YouTube Bracket. I’m looking high and low for the best Michigan football moments ever captured on YouTube — divided into two categories: Game Performances/Game Winners and Spectacular Plays — and for you, the readers, to vote on the moment that stands out above the rest.

Yesterday featured a matchup of two classic game-winning plays; today, in the 3-seed vs. 6-seed matchup in the Game Performances/Game Winners category, we instead take a look at two monumental individual game performances, one by one of the Wolverines’ most prolific runners, the other by a name that has become quite familiar to this bracket:

(3) Touchdown Tim runs over undefeated Ohio State, 1995

With future NFL stars like Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George, future #1 pick Orlando Pace, Terry Glenn, Shawn Springs, and Mike Vrabel, the 1995 Ohio State Buckeyes entered the final week of the regular season undefeated and fully expecting to easily handle 18th-ranked Michigan, who headed into the game with an 8-3 record. Instead of Ohio State dominating in the trenches, however, it was Michigan who pushed around the Buckeyes, with the offensive line opening holes all day for tailback Tshimanga “Touchdown Tim” Biakabutuka. The Wolverines kept feeding Biakabutuka the ball until he had amassed a ridiculous 313 yards and a touchdown on 37 carries to lead Michigan to a 31-23 upset that knocked OSU out of the national title picture. The above video speaks for itself — nearly 10 minutes of long run after long run for Biakabutuka, whose 1995 season stands among the finest by any Michigan running back, ever.

(6) Mario’s double moves confound Notre Dame, 2006

It definitely wasn’t intentional, but it makes sense that Mario Manningham is making his third (and I will admit, final) appearance in this side of the bracket — the guy had a knack for coming up big in big games. Against second-ranked Notre Dame in 2006, the only thing that could stop Super Mario was the band, as he tallied all three of his touchdown receptions in the first half — barreling into the Michigan Marching Band on the third and briefly injuring his wrist — en route to amassing 137 yards receiving on just four catches. All three of Mario’s touchdowns had a similar flavor, as he made Notre Dame’s defensive backs look downright silly with his stutter-step double move before streaking down the sideline towards the end zone. The 2005 Penn State game may have been Mario’s coming-out party, and his 2007 game-winner against Michigan State another notch in the belt, but 2006 Notre Dame was his magnum opus.

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Recap:

Game Performances/Winners 1-seed vs. 8-seed: Anthony Carter vs. Indiana against Mario Manningham vs. Michigan State

Game Performances/Winners 4-seed vs. 5-seed: Mario Manningham vs. Penn State against Remy Hamilton vs. Notre Dame

Honorable Mentions

Quarterback Conelius Jones is the third 2010 Michigan recruit who has been unable to qualify.

Well, this story is getting pretty old, but a third 2010 Michigan recruit has failed to qualify for the fall. Quarterback Conelius Jones will enroll at Fork Union Military Academy after failing to achieve a qualifying SAT score, according to the Detroit News (via a report from GoBlueWolverine.com):

Athlete/quarterback Conelius Jones, a member of Michigan’s 2010 recruiting class, will not enroll at the school this fall, according to a report.

Freddy Brown, Jones’ coach at Spartanburg (S.C.) High School, told GoBlueWolverine.com on Monday that Jones was denied admission due to his score on a standardized college entrance exam.

Brown said Jones will attend Fork Union Military Academy in the fall and will try to enroll at Michigan in the winter semester.

Jones (6-2, 197 pounds) was a three-star recruit who also received offers from Duke, Stanford, Syrause and Wake Forest, among other schools, according to Scout.com.

Although Michigan is certainly set at quarterback for this season with Denard Robinson, Tate Forcier, and Devin Gardner, Jones was expected to help provide depth down the road, especially if the team decided to use Robinson at another position (although that seems unlikely after Shoelace’s outstanding spring). Expect Michigan to make a strong push for 2011 quarterback Kevin Sousa, who has picked up an offer and appears to be the Wolverines’ most realistic option at QB in his class.

As mentioned above, Jones is the third 2010 recruit who has not been admitted to Michigan, along with defensive back Demar Dorsey and linebacker Antonio Kinard. Hopefully, he can make the most of his semester at Fork Union and join the team this winter.

It’s summer, the time when bloggers rack their brains for something — anything — to write about and college football fans count down the seconds until foot meets pigskin. So, welcome to my latest gimmick: The Michigan Football YouTube Bracket. I’m looking high and low for the best Michigan football moments ever captured on YouTube — divided into two categories: Game Performances/Game Winners and Spectacular Plays — and for you, the readers, to vote on the moment that stands out above the rest.

Today, the 4-seed and the 5-seed in the Game Performances/Game Winners category face off in a battle of game-winning plays, both providing dramatic and memorable moments in otherwise forgettable seasons.

(4) Super Mario is born vs. Penn State, 2005

Say what you will about Mario Manningham, but the guy came up with some huge catches in his Michigan career — this is already his second appearance on this side of the bracket. Despite this play coming in just the seventh game of his freshman season, this may be Super Mario’s most memorable (with the 2005 season ending with Michigan at 7-5, I hesitate to call it the most significant) moment of his career. Buzzer-beating touchdown passes are a rarity in football, and in a back-and-forth tilt with an undefeated Penn State team that would go on to finish 11-1, Chad Henne and Mario Manningham caught lightning in a bottle for this magical play.

(5) Remy Hamilton beats Notre Dame, 1994

This play doubles as one of my earliest memories of Michigan football — somehow, even at the age of seven, I somehow understood just how important it was for Michigan to beat Notre Dame. With both teams entering Notre Dame Stadium ranked in the top six, the game was a classic all the way through. After a Ron Powlus touchdown pass put the Irish up one with under a minute left, Todd Collins led Michigan down the field, leaving the game resting on the foot of Remy Hamilton. Hamilton — whom NBC announcer Tom Hammond had mistakenly called “Ryan” earlier in the game — made sure his (real) name would go down in Michigan lore, as he split the uprights from 42 yards out with just two seconds remaining on the clock.

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