Thursday, February 11, 2010

A re-post on Lawrence Thomas

So. Now that the 2010 class is all wrapped up, most fans are jumping headfirst into the 2011 class, and for many, this is the first time they start to learn about the elite players in the state, in the country, on the radar for Michigan, etc...

With that comes a lot of repetitive inquiries and questions, and one of the most common revolves around the best player in the state for 2011, 5-star Detroit Renaissance linebacker Lawrence Thomas.

I'll put it as bluntly as I can, and hopefully the message gets out so the questions can stop: It is highly, highly, highly unlikely that Lawrence Thomas comes to Michigan.

Why? A few reasons. One being Michigan State has done a great job building a pipeline to Renaissance High School, landing Chris Norman and Dana Dixon from there two years ago, and Mylan Hicks last year. All three are friends with Lawrence Thomas, with Norman being a "big brother" type. Thomas has been to MSU numerous times, and he chose to go to the MSU/Penn State game last year instead of Michigan/Ohio State. It's crystal clear that he feels more comfortable at State.

Another reason may be this: [Ed. note, 5/17: link removed for the time being]

It's understandable if you're a bit...agitated after watching that (if you're a Michigan fan, that is). I have actually linked that video and discussed this situation here before. But it is what it is, I guess. Antonio Watts is completely off base with his feelings toward Rich Rodriguez and Michigan. Carson Butler and Andre Criswell were not mistreated at UofM. Butler was given every opportunity, by both Lloyd Carr and Rich Rodriguez. They kept opening doors for him, and he kept slamming them shut. He wore out his welcome with his antics. Look, it's obvious that Coach Watts cares about the players that come through his school, and he wants them to succeed in life and be all they can be. But sometimes you have to admit when one of them just screws up instead of blaming other people. Is Thomas Wilcher holding a grudge against Rodriguez because of what happened with Boubacar Cissoko? No, and it has nothing to do with Wilcher being a "UM guy." He could just as easily fall into the anti-RR camp of "Michigan guys." Would've been really easy to make up some crap about Cissoko being done wrongly at UofM. But Wilcher chose not to do that, because he realizes that Cissoko's problems were one person's fault: Cissoko's. It's a shame that Coach Watts can't see the same about Carson Butler.

And as for Criswell? He was a 2-star fullback that Lloyd Carr offered late in the recruiting process. He was never in trouble, was a model citizen...he just wasn't good enough to get onto the field much ahead of other players on the roster. He decided to stick it out, and was given a graduate assistant spot on Rich Rodriguez's staff. In what world is this some form of mistreatment? He gets a world-class education (for free) and gets a job on a coaching staff involved in the game he loves? If that's being treated badly, sign me up.

Moral of the story: For whatever reason, whether it be the perception that Rich Rodriguez ignores in-state players, some negative recruiting by Mark Dantonio, or something else, Antonio Watts doesn't like UM (or RR, either way, it doesn't matter). Fact is, Lawrence Thomas ain't comin' to Michigan, folks. Yeah, it blows. Superbeast of a middle linebacker in our own backyard, and we're not going to get a serious look. The world's not a fair place.

Time to move on.


Nathan said...

Hey Brian,

Does Thomas dropping by on his own time this week, prior to the crowded junior day, to talk with GERG make this situation any better? I am aware of the writing on the wall that Thomas is not coming to M but I can keep praying. Thanks in advance for your insight.

Brian said...

It's a positive first step, but there's a long way to go. Need to get him in for a spring practice and/or the Spring Game, need to get him to push back any thought of committing early, get him in for a game in the fall, WIN on the field in the fall, get him to visit officially, etc...

First step is always the hardest though, and the fact that UM asked him to come in separate from the Junior Day and he obliged is a positive.

One note, which can be inferred from knowing who he came with and reading this blog post: The coach that drove him in is NOT Coach Watts, the guy in the video talking about Butler and Criswell being mistreated. Antoine Edwards is an asst. at Renaissance and the recruiting coordinator for all Ren prospects. He's more interested in making sure his players see all the places they want to see and have all the info more than playing favorites. In that sense, UM is closer to LT than they ever were with Gholston, whose coach actively kept him from any one-on-one time with UM's coaches.

Markus said...

If Mr. Watts is indeed guiding his football players to one particular school over others based on one or two past incidents where his former players were perceived to have been "mistreated", then this is not a trivial error. It is a colossal mistake. It is a failure to provide objective and honest counsel.

Another coach from Vicksburg H.S. in SW Michigan might at the same time choose to steer his own players to Ann Arbor or Mt. Pleasant due to all of the recent violence and legal issues surrounding the MSU Spartan program in East Lansing, saying "I don't know what's going on up there, but I don't want my kids being placed at risk".

Both coaches would be wrong to do this.

They must present the facts, provide their athletes all the contacts and information they can, and then step back and let the kids do their research, visit and decide with their families. Sure, they can share their opinions, but when asked.

That's how it should be done in my view.

Being so certain you're right results in a closed mind - and closed doors to new opportunity.