The map you see below is a compilation of all the players that have been on the U of M roster starting with Bo and ending with RichRod.
There is a lot of information here...but lets start with the Michigan/Ohio region and work our way out to the rest of the country.
Michigan vs Ohio
There has been a lot of discussion on this board about the Great Wall of Tressel, and how he shut down the border. Lets take a look at how our roster was compiled with Michigan and Ohio kids over the past few decades.
A couple of things stick out here...
- During Bo's era 1 out of 4 kids on the team were from Ohio. From Lloyd's tenure and to the present it was 1 out of 10.
- Our presence in Ohio started to decline long before Tressel got there.
- RichRod always caught a lot of flack for not recruiting Michigan players, but he averaged more Michigan players then previous coaches (Yes, I know we are dealing with sample size, and most of his roster was still Lloyd's players.)
Here is a look at some of the raw data I was working with...
Rich Rod's Midwest:
Regional and National Footprint
The graphs you see below break down our roster by Region....
I was pretty amazed to see that 82% of Bo's roster was compiled of MidWest kids. I'll update this or do a Part 2......but it will be interesting to see how Hoke's first class will break down once it's complete. Right now its leaning torwards Bo's percentages.
** note: All data was pulled from http://bentley.umich.edu/athdept/football/football.htm
[Ed-M: I used basically the same database for this year's HTTV article on recruiting Ohio, and ran into a similar problem: walk-ons. Bentley doesn't say who's a scholarship player and who isn't. Also the nature of a 4- to 5-year turnover cycle makes it hard to see what effect a coach is having except by tracking trends, not total % of players. For example, Bo's Ohio recruiting had been trending down for a long time in his later years, so that when Moeller took over it looks like the story is Mo recruited nationally and Bo was a Midwest guy. In truth, Bo took over a team from Bump that had been capping at 80% people from a mitten- or trash can-shaped state. Bo started by scouring Ohio but once his program was established he went all around the country. To wit:
If you break that into trend-lines...
...the conclusions are radically different than the percentages above suggest. Also RR and Mo weren't really there long enough to make any judgments, except the first chart shows a pretty radical growth in Ohio prospecting by RR replacing in-state success of Carr.]
Since this week in Michigan recruiting revolves around the BBQ at the Big House, Wednesday Recruitin' will follow suit. Since I don't want to shortchange new commit Sione Houma (or the visit of IA WR Amara Darboh), expect full coverage in next week's update.
Since there's unlikely to be a lot of action surrounding these guys (duh, they're already committed), a simple list will suffice:
- MI TE Devin Funchess. He plans to bring along his teammate, WR Aaron Burbridge (see below).
- OH OL Caleb Stacey
- OH OL Kyle Kalis. He's solid in his Michigan commitment.
- MI OL Ben Braden
- MI DE Matt Godin
- OH DE Tom Strobel
MI DE/LB Mario Ojemudia. Speaking of Mario, he looked impressive at the Rivals Elite Big Man Camp, as highlights just appeared on Youtube:
I'm not sure how many (if any) of the guys he was facing are D-1 or BCS prospects - though I'm guessing not many - but he dominated most every rep shown. Ojemudia is a watchlist member for the Butkus Award.
- OH LB Joe Bolden. He's a on the watchlist for the high school Butkus Award, along with...
- OH LB Kaleb Ringer, and also...
- MI LB Royce Jenkins-Stone, and...
- MI LB James Ross. Five Michigan commits means a whole 10% of the watchlist is headed to Ann Arbor.
- OH S Allen Gant
- MI CB Terry Richardson. We should know after this visit if Michigan's coaches are OK with him taking trips to other schools.
- IL CB Anthony Standifer. Attending, and bringing his 2013 teammate LaQuon Treadwell.
2013 MI QB Shane Morris. Shane, as you may have heard (or even seen) impressed at the Gridiron Kings 7on7 tournament in Florida last weekend. He came in for some fluff from ESPN.
"I have a strong arm," Morris said. "I have an accurate arm as well. I can move in the pocket although I am more of a pro-style quarterback that can run a little bit, too. I bring leadership to Michigan and I want to be the best we can be and bring championships to Michigan."
Morris is also active on the recruiting front. He is working social media and other outlets hard. "I am already working my tail off for [the] 2012 class," Morris said. "I am trying to get the top players in [the] nation to help us win championships. I am hitting up kids every day on Facebook, linemen all across [the] nation. I am looking for the best players and people to come to Michigan."
I'm sure video will surface soon enough, as the event itself appeared on ESPNU.
As you may note, that's the majority of Michigan's 2012 commits (plus a bonus from the 2013 class). The only committed players not confirmed to make it are:
- UT FB Sione Houma
- OH TE AJ Williams. "Not sure" if he's coming.
- TN OL Blake Bars
- CA OL Erik Magnuson
- OH DE Pharaoh Brown
- OH S Jarrod Wilson
- 2012/13 KY S Jeremy Clark. He will try to make it up.
A couple of those guys are maybes who haven't firmly committed one way or the other yet. The rest likely have football two-a-days, other commitments, or no transportation.
That brings us to the category where there may be a bit of action: uncommitted rising seniors.
- OH DE Chris Wormley. He's been maintaining Michigan as his leader and inching toward a decision lately. Might he finally be ready to make a move?
- MI WR Aaron Burbridge. Tom confirmed with commit Devin Funchess that Burbridge is joining him at the event.
- IN DT Sheldon Day. According to Sam Webb this morning, he'll be in attendance.
- MI DT Danny O'Brien
- MO DT Ondre Pipkins
- MO WR Jehu Chesson
- OH WR Monty Madaris
- OH RB Bri'Onte Dunn
There are also a maybe in this group:
- IL OL Jordan Diamond. He's one of the candidates for the final OL spot.
Aside from Wormley, defensive tackle seems to be the most likely position to pick up a new commit, though there's no indication yet that Pipkins or O'Brien is quite ready.
OH DE Adolphus Washington and WR Dwayne Stanford will be playing AAU hoops in Florida, and unable to make it. Last week, their coach told Tom that they probably won't be able to take any more visits until the season rolls around.
You can bet your ass that MI QB Shane Morris wants to convince a healthy group of juniors to join his class (along with 2012 greyshirt Jeremy Clark). A few prospects of interest:
- MI OL Steven Elmer. Morris's main competition for tops in state next year.
MI RB/DL Wyatt Shallman. He was the subject of Sam Webb's most recent recruiting column in the Detroit News, and it sounds like Michigan is in strong position:
"My parents are both crazy Michigan fans," Shallman reported. "It is like a dream come true for them. My mom cried (when Brady Hoke extended a scholarship offer back in May). She's loved Michigan for so long. My mom is crazy fanatical. She loves Bo (Schembechler). She loves everything about Michigan. On our outdoor fridge she has an 'Oh, how I hate Ohio State' sign. My dad went to one of the first Michigan camps back with Bo. His whole claim to fame at the camp was he ran a good route and made a one-handed catch. Bo came up to him and said, 'Good catch son!'"
He also has existing relationships with a couple Michigan commits in Shane Morris and Matt Godin:
"They are both (recruiting for Michigan) little bit, but not too hard because they are getting ready for the season, too."
I wouldn't expect a commitment at the BBQ, as it's explicitly stated that Wyatt's parents want to ensure that he gets a chance to see what other colleges have to offer. On the other hand, if the visit blows him away, who knows? He seems to be taking an open approach to a decision.
- MI LB Jon Reschke
- IL WR LaQuon Treadwell. Tagging along with his teammate, 2012 CB Commit Anthony Standifer.
I would be stunned if any commitment-like substanced happened from any of these guys but Shallman, and even that would be unexpected.
xkcd / Hoke pointing at xkcd / EDIT: which means you should click on it dammit so you will get the point!
This morning His Dudeness posted a throwaway discussion topic for the board comparing Rodriguez's 2009 recruiting to Hoke's 2012. This was taken by some as an attempt to reopen 2008-'10 wounds but really it's another "how many ways can we talk about how awesome our 2012 recruiting is going?" (So so awesome). Anyway this started as a
reply to fisk of that thread and ended up at 2,000 words plus charts. Hi, I'm Misopogon, have we met?
It's been almost 200 days since Hoke took the job. That's not much to go on when trying to judge a coach. Basically there's 1) his previous resume, 2) the process of how he was hired, 3) how he built his staff, 4) how he integrates into the program, and then 5) a few months of recruiting. I literally wrote up the first four then figured what the hell would we want to go over that again, so let's skip right to recruiting.
Finishing the Class of…
Rodriguez additions to Class of '08:
|Name||Pos||State||Stars||RR||Pos Rk||Nat Rk||State Rk||Rec'd By|
|Michael Shaw||RB||OH||4 stars||5.9||7||NR||6|
|Taylor Hill||LB||OH||4 stars||5.8||21||NR||16|
|Terrence Robinson||RB||TX||4 stars||5.8||9||NR||34|
|Ricky Barnum||OL||FL||4 stars||5.8||5||NR||37|
|Roy Roundtree||WR||OH||4 stars||5.8||44||NR||17||Bruce Tall|
|Justin Feagin||ATH||FL||3 stars||5.7||41||NR||71|
|Martavious Odoms||WR||FL||3 stars||5.7||71||NR||77||Rod Smith|
|Patrick Omameh||DE||OH||2 stars||5.1||NR||NR||NR||Bruce Tall|
Hoke additions to Class of '11:
|Name||Pos||State||Stars||RR||Pos Rk||Nat Rk||State Rk||Rec'd By|
|Chris Barnett||TE||TX||4 stars||5.8||14||NR||32||Jeff Hecklinski|
|Raymon Taylor||ATH||MI||4 stars||5.8||14||NR||6|
|Antonio Poole||LB||OH||3 stars||5.7||26||NR||20||Mark Smith|
|Frank Clark||LB||OH||3 stars||5.6||NR||NR||52|
|Thomas Rawls||RB||MI||3 stars||5.6||NR||NR||19||Fred Jackson|
|Russell Bellomy||QB||TX||3 stars||5.5||NR||NR||NR|
|Tamani Carter||DB||OH||3 stars||5.5||NR||NR||60||Mark Smith|
|Keith Heitzman||DE||OH||3 stars||5.5||NR||NR||NR||Greg Mattison, Mark Smith|
|Matt Wile||K||CA||2 stars||5.3||NR||NR||NR|
This is unfair to judge the coaches against each other. Rodriguez was hired in November and was taking over a Citrus-bound program with a retiring Hall of Fame coach, while Hoke was hired in the middle of January after a blowout Gator loss and following a fired guy. Rodriguez had less time than would have been optimal given the breadth of his transition, but it was no more of a transition than Hoke faces, and RR got a good two months, including the all-important December period, to bring the current class home.
The recruiting is reflected in that. Other than bringing Hill from W.Va., Rodriguez mostly grabbed guys to fit his offensive system. Shaw's a speed-back, T-Rob, Roundtree and Odoms were slot receivers, Barnum and Omameh were the kind of agile offensive linemen who fit best in zone blocking, and Feagin was a last-minute consolation prize when Pryor decided he'd get more out of attending Ohio State. Hoke on the other hand found a handful of Michigan and Ohio State Sad Joshes (Clark, Carter, Heitzman, Rawls, Poole, Bellomy and Taylor), at positions of great need, replaced the kicker lost in the transition, yanked the requisite Purdue recruit (Bellomy) to ensure Danny Hope stays petty, and pulled in a last-minute coup on a national tight end.
Both did okay, not fantastic. Hoke got a kicker back, which was a big deal, but needed to flip someone's 5.9+ OT and pick up another good-to-great linebacker to avoid scary depths at that positions starting in 2012; RR's failure to get more help at defensive back (Carr had Brandon Smith, J.T. Floyd, and Cissoko) would haunt him the rest of his Michigan career (nobody planned on losing 2/4 LBs by next summer). Oh, and, ahem, quarterback.
Recruiting the Class of…
Rodriguez 2009 recruits as of July 26, 2008:
|William Campbell||DT||MI||5 stars||6.1||Oct. 2007||5||26||1||(Carr's staff)|
|Justin Turner||DB||OH||4 stars||6.0||Mar 28||3||35||1||Bruce Tall|
|Bryce McNeal||WR||MN||4 stars||6.0||May 1||10||75||1||Tony Dews|
|Kevin Newsome||QB||VA||4 stars||5.9||Apr 24||4||163||9||Fred Jackson|
|Jeremy Gallon||ATH||FL||4 stars||5.9||Jun 05||11||NR||31||Rod Smith|
|DeQuinta Jones||DT||LA||4 stars||5.8||Jul 21||NR||NR||10||Jay Hopson|
|Shavodrick Beaver||QB||TX||4 stars||5.8||Apr 29||8||206||24||Rod Smith|
|Fitz Toussaint||RB||OH||4 stars||5.8||Apr 18||8||NR||14||Tony Gibson|
|Michael Schofield||OL||IL||4 stars||5.8||Jun 16||18||NR||6||Scott Shafer|
|Teric Jones||RB||MI||3 stars||5.7||Mar 29||37||NR||12||Tony Dews|
|Isaiah Bell||LB||OH||3 stars||5.7||Mar 31||26||NR||27||Tony Gibson|
Hoke 2012 recruits as of July 26, 2011:
|Kyle Kalis||OL||OH||4 stars||6.0||Jul 10||4||18||1||Greg Mattison|
|Royce Jenkins-Stone||LB||MI||4 stars||5.9||Apr 16||7||87||1||Fred Jackson|
|Erik Magnuson||OL||CA||4 stars||5.9||Jun 10||8||34||6||Dan Ferrigno|
|Blake Bars||OL||TN||4 stars||5.8||Jun 26||34||NR||6||Mark Smith|
|Joe Bolden||LB||OH||4 stars||5.8||Apr 29||16||NR||11||Greg Mattison|
|Pharaoh Brown||DE||OH||4 stars||5.8||May 07||20||NR||17||Greg Mattison|
|Terry Richardson||DB||MI||4 stars||5.8||May 19||18||NR||4||Greg Mattison|
|James Ross||LB||MI||4 stars||5.8||May 2||4||NR||3||Fred Jackson|
|Tom Strobel||DE||OH||4 stars||5.8||Jun 10||18||NR||14||Greg Mattison|
|Jarrod Wilson||DB||OH||4 stars||5.8||Jul 8||NR||NR||NR||Greg Mattison|
|Ben Braden||OL||MI||3 stars||5.7||Mar 24||59||NR||9||Greg Mattison|
|Devin Funchess||TE||MI||3 stars||5.7||Apr 22||17||NR||6||Fred Jackson|
|Allen Gant||DB||OH||3 stars||5.7||May 31||22||NR||29||Al Borges|
|Matthew Godin||DT||MI||3 stars||5.7||May 12||27||NR||7||Fred Jackson|
|Kaleb Ringer||LB||OH||3 stars||5.7||Apr 12||11||NR||25||Mark Smith|
|Caleb Stacey||OL||OH||3 stars||5.7||Mar 26||12||NR||22||Mark Smith|
|Anthony Standifer||DB||IL||3 stars||5.7||Jun 01||37||NR||14||Jeff Hecklinski|
|A.J. Williams||TE||OH||3 stars||5.7||Apr 22||16||NR||28||Mark Smith|
|Mario Ojemudia||DE||MI||3 stars||5.6||May 7||NR||NR||14||Fred Jackson|
|Jeremy Clark#||DB||KY||3 stars||5.5||Jun 24||NR||NR||6||(Camp offer)|
|Sione Houma||RB||UT||0 stars||NR||Jul 25||NR||NR||NR||Dan Ferrigno|
# = entering as grayshirt
By the way those are end-of-cycle rankings so it's not an exact match, e.g. Newsome was at one point rated the 20th player in the country by Rivals and was around 40-something by mid-summer. For our purposes it gets the point across: RR had some great gifts for the tree had they hung on, but still needed a lot of stocking stuffers.
Both coaches worked quickly to over-address positions of the greatest whiffs in years previous. Rodriguez got two of the top QBs in the country signed on, and had 5-stars or near enough at cornerback and DT. To the groans of smurf-haters everywhere, RR also had secured two more scat-backs and another (highly rated) slot receiver. Schofield was considered a good system OT; Isaiah Bell was a S/LB sleeper adored by one Ohio site but not the national scouts. Hoke meanwhile has killed, already having secured five OL commitments, three of whom are already past the "just a 4-star" threshold, and also swept the region in LB recruits, faring almost as well in DEs. Hoke's clearly got the advantage.
You'll note a lot of the 2008 haul never made it to campus. The 3-9 year was partly to blame of course, however as of late July 2008 many of RR's guys were soft. Will Campbell (right) committed to Carr in the middle of his junior (2007) year and remained a softie; he eventually de-committed in September only to re-up after a long and pulmonarily destructive flirtation with SEC schools. Bryce committed but looking around; he lost interest in October, presumably after many sleepless nights spent thinking of Nick Sheridan passing to him. Newsome was entertaining a camp visit at Virginia Tech this time three years ago, but turned it down and sounded like he was rock. He and Beaver gave up around the same time (right after you mentally gave up on the 2008 offense) and were immediately replaced by Tate and the hard pursuit of some supersonic kid in Florida who Urban wanted badly and nobody thought was a QB.
And then there's DeQuinta Jones, a 4-star DT from Louisiana who just kind of randomly pretended to commit to M without visiting, kind of the way that my buddy once announced that he was in love with the hottest girl in camp, whom we will call L.H.*, so that other girls in camp would take him more seriously. If this seems at all weird to you welcome to the wild and wacky world of Louisiana recruiting; bring a funny hat. The DeQuinta/LH gambit worked surprisingly well in both cases, except not for the faux commit-ee.
If you take away the guys who de-committed from RR's 2009 class it looks more like this…
…and it's Hoke like whoa. A bad year in 2011 and maybe his class starts falling apart as well, but it is important to note that nobody on that list above is considered soft except the grayshirted Jeremy Clark** if he gets something better than high-ish MAC offers, whereas that label applied to half of RR's first full class by July.
Stick their late additions to the hybrid class with their first-year recruiting by July and you get:
Not hugely dissimilar except that Hoke's got a lot more 3-stars and is missing four blue chips. In a worst case scenario the 2011 team starts losing a la 2008, while Ohio State's dancing along having gotten off virtually scot-free from the most obvious case of Failure to Monitor and Lack of Institutional Control I've ever witnessed in 20 years of college football fandom, and Hoke's Goodwill Ride of 2011 comes to a crashing, sudden stop, and then entire position groups are destroyed, and the 2012 guys start decomitting and the university hires Freakbass to rebrand us. If all those things don't happen, well, this probably turns out better than the last time.
Brian penned a State of Recruiting article in early August '08 that's worth a look-back so you can remember your comparable state of mind. How does that compare to now? And I didn't even make you compare "Denard: The Upperclassman Years" to "gee I hope this Sheridan guy really is a Basanez."
P.S. Don't miss the next exciting episode of 'Alphas' on Sci-Fi!
* Fellow period Tamakwans will agree that this wasn't debatable. Maaaybe a few votes for E.C. or
L.C. (EDIT: L.B.!!! HT Schram, Schram, Schneider, & Luria)
** He'll get a YMRMFSPA Charles Stewart if he makes it, but the Phillip Brackins comparison is so go, unless we decide you can all remember Eric Rosel.
COACH BA TWEET. If you are not following basketball assistant Bacari Alexander on Twitter, you are doing yourself a disservice. Yesterday's gem:
The iPad by far is the biggest tool used by coaches on the road. It has saved cell phone battery life.
Love the information in the second sentence. So matter-of-fact. Love that guy.
I have to think the Alliance is going to frown on this. As covered by Misopogon last night, a couple Wolverines (including an incoming freshman) have disappeared from Michigan's roster [Ed-M:
I'm still waiting for confirmation but other media outlets are reporting It's confirmed: Terry (the Elder) Talbott is medicaled too], ever-so-conveniently opening up a couple roster spots for class of 2012 commits (of which Brady Hoke has said to expect 23-26, and we're currently up to 22 openings).
This disappearing act is sure to draw the ire of Brian, the resident oversigning watchdog (that post is his "final" word on the topic... from more than three years ago). The point is that when signing a big class - or in this case, aiming to sign one - you're actively hoping some guys currently on your roster will not make it through their four years. That puts you in a sketchy-feeling gray area at best.
Of course, there have been hints going back to Rodriguez that Christian Pace's injuries could be career-threatening (and Teric Jones's knee injury did indeed look terrible, etc.), so maybe we're confusing the cause and effect in Hoke's statements about signing a full class? Pace, at the very least, seemed like he would be a contributor if healthy, so there's far less motive to push him out.
Fairly or not, it still gives off the feeling that Michigan is striding away from its moral high ground on the issue. Brian is certain to feel much more strongly about this, so brace yourselves for his wrath when he returns.
Other things that are certain to thrill Brian. Say goodbye to non-conference away games, according to David Brandon. The original tweet from Mark Snyder didn't seem to doom us to a purgatory of Notre Dame and the Directionals as non-conference opponents, but the full quote from Brandon is not so promising:
"I don't believe we can or should go on the road for nonconference games when we can put 113,000 people in our stadium. It's, financially, the right thing to do. It's the right thing to do for our fans, in terms of their ticket packages. And we're going to alternate with Notre Dame, so we're going to have one game on the road every other year. So the rest of those games, I would like to have at Michigan Stadium."
I was hopeful that it would mean the years Notre Dame plays in Ann Arbor would bring Bama-in-Dallas events at the very least, but Brandon's quote seems clear: No games outside of Ann Arbor or South Bend.
Taking the easy money is Brandon's vision of "creating the future," for better or for worse. With a four-year warning in place to opt out of the Notre Dame series occasionally, the chances will be few and far between to play anyone else, if they exist at all.
Upside? One potential reason for the reduction in worthwhile non-conference games, however, could be looked at as a good thing. Purdue revealed that the Big Ten asked it to re-work some non-conference games for the 2017 season and beyond, possibly indicating a nine-game conference schedule coming soon to a stadium near you.
Though it reduces non-conference opportunities, Brandon has made it clear that he wanted to do that anyway, so I'd rather face Wisconsin or Penn State than Akron or Kent State, right?
Off the hook? I'm not going to touch the topic of Ohio State getting off with what seems to be minimal punishment, but I assure you Brian will cover it in extreme depth upon his return, as well.
Etc. Hammer and Rails profiles former Boiler Glenn Robinson Jr., who you may recognize as the father of hoops commit Glenn Robinson III. Duane Long says OH OL Kyle Kalis isn't solidly committed to Michigan and Kalis basically responds "hey leave me alone please." Much more on recruiting tomorrow, per the usual weekly schedule. Michigan is named fourth in the Legends Division by a media poll.
|Hilliard, OH - 6'3" 240|
|Scout||3*, #63 TE|
|Rivals||3*, 5.5, NR SDE|
|ESPN||3*, 75, #157 DE|
|Others||247: 3*, 83, NR|
|Other Suitors||Vandy, Minnesota, Indiana, Illinois|
|Previously On MGoBlog||Commitment post from Tim|
Keith Heitzman is probably the only player in the history of either program to decommit from Vanderbilt in favor of Michigan, so even if he gets buried on the depth chart and emerges from his eligibility totally anonymous but well-educated he'll always have a special place in the hearts of recruitniks everywhere.
Can he be more than an answer on Extreme Sports Nerd Jeopardy? Well… probably not. Disclaimers about star rankings and Jerry Rice apply, but the odds are the odds even if the occasional player beats them. The odds are stacked against Heitzman.
Scouting reports and rankings make this clear. ESPN($) breaks out "adequate" like a seriously depressed Lloyd Carr:
He gets off the ball well. He can be a physical kid at the point of attack, but needs to be more consistent especially with his hands. He displays the ability to maintain some leverage and hold his ground. Will flash the ability to shoot his hands and create separation, but needs to be more active with his hands and use them to not only protect his legs…. Displays adequate speed in pursuit and needs to be sure to utilize good angles and also secure when tackling. Does an adequate job of taking on pulling lineman. Needs to keep working on his recognition skills…. Needs to be more active with his weapons, develop his pass rush arsenal, and not attack the whole man. Heitzman is a solid defender who will flash some tools to be tough versus the run and pass.
This is the same scouting service that said Isaiah Bell stands for BIG PLAYMAKER, or something. They really loved them some Isaiah Bell. Here they very politely say "MAC." Touch the Banner is in the same boat:
Heitzman has some physical skills, including a willingness to hit and some pretty quick feet. But his footwork as a blocker and a defensive end are suspect. He gets by on having superior athleticism and size, but those advantages will disappear somewhat at the next level.
… Defensively, Michigan has a fair number of options at end, all of whom have superior size and equal athleticism. Even if the Wolverines suffer an injury or two at DE, Heitzman should rest easily on the sideline for a year or two.
Even the normally fawning coach quotes are muted:
“Keith is a special kid,” he said. “Obviously, I’m a little biased, but he’s got terrific durability. He’s started every one of those (41) games. He’s never missed a game. I don’t recall him ever missing a practice.”
That is a good attribute to have, but when you read everything every high school coach says about his Michigan-bound players ("turns offensive linemen into tacos… the most delicious tacos you've ever had!"), "he was there" falls a little flat.
Scout is slightly more encouraging:
An excellent athlete, Heitzman lines up full time at defensive end and part time at tight end. He gets a nice jump off the line and has quick hands. He needs to get bigger and stronger in the weight room if he's going to play either tight end or defensive end on the next level. He's a good run after the catch player because of his athleticism and does a good job with a speed rush at end.
Offers and ratings concur; Heitzman is just hanging on to his third stars at every site. His other offers were the dregs of the Big Ten and SEC. Late involvement from Illinois, a team that recruits decently and has actually seen a bowl game in the last decade, is encouraging in context.
HOWEVA, our most recent data points are encouraging ones. He was unanimously voted his district's defensive player of the year:
Lineman, KEITH HEITZMAN (Hilliard Davidson) 6-4, 250, sr. A unanimous choice as the Central District Division I Defensive Player of the Year, Heitzman used his brute strength and athleticism to overwhelm opponents. He also was one of Davidson's top blockers at tight end. "He was a game-changer on both sides of the ball," White said.
Then Heitzman was a standout on the Ohio Big 33 team that laid waste to Pennsylvania:
While Teague, Ohio's Mr. Football, was grabbing the attention on one side of the ball, it was Hilliard Davidson grad and University of Michigan-bound defensive end Keith Heitzman that set the tone for the Ohio defense.
His combination of quickness and power was too much for Pennsylvania, as he spent most of the game in the opposing backfield.
The other starters on the Ohio line were OSU commit Steve Miller and a pair of guys headed to Michigan State, FWIW. Heitzman collected a sack or two sacks or an interception or maybe all of the above; he definitely forced an interception on Pennsylvania's first drive of the day. He even finished the Ohio scoring with a one-yard TD run.
His performance($) defied the expectations set above:
He’s been consistent, giving great effort on every snap of the ball. When talking with Ohio coaches about Heitzman they mention the word “motor”. It’s his motor that has caused him to be so disruptive coming off the edge although he’s also done some damage working inside out. He uses his hands well, and has surprising strength at the point attack.
That's from Michigan's Scout site and is probably biased, but local observers were also impressed. As a bonus, Heitzman claimed to be up to 250 pounds at the event.
That's hopeful in the same way Greg Brown's strong spring performance was. It gives a prospect most people had written off as a backup or special teamer some new life. Heitzman's new upside seems to be an avearge-ish starter, but here's hoping we read one of those articles about "shutting up the critics (and by critics, we mean people who think critically)" in a few years' time.
Etc.: Davidson beat Glenville for the state championship in 2009. Enjoying his new status as a hater:
“I grew up an Ohio State fan, but I wasn't a die hard or anything, but I’m gladly hating them right now. It’s been mainly joking around. Everyone is pretty proud, and it’s just that it’s going to a big time school and things like that.”
Heitzman's coach on his recruitment:
"Coach Rodriguez had begun recruiting Keith in late December, about a week or two before he got fired," Davidson coach Brian White said. "He left behind all the phone numbers of the players he was looking at. Coach Hoke, who I have known for a long time, got back with me as a courtesy, and I encouraged him to keep Keith on his list and sent along some film."
Eventually, the combination of Michigan's football and academics won over Heitzman and his mother, both of whom, according to White, "were gung-ho about Vanderbilt and the prestige of education there."
Why Jake Frysinger? Heitzman's reasonable long term upside is as a rotation SDE or three-tech who gives the starters a blow and contributes here and there by not getting run over. Frysinger, who appeared in 44 games while starting two, is the quintessential Michigan rotation DE. He may have been a bit taller and was definitely a bigger recruit, FWIW.
Guru Reliability: High. Healthy player at a high profile school; recruiting services are in agreement.
General Excitement Level: Meh. Would be "low" but the flicker of hope provided by the Big 33 performance raises it a bit.
Projection: Obvious redshirt and unlikely to work his way past the competition in the race to replace Ryan Van Bergen next year. May emerge into a depth defender in a few years.
Caution: this draft is from June, so some portions may be slightly out-of-date. If I see anything glaringly wrong or in need of update, I'll fix it.
UT FB Sione Houma committed to Michigan today, showing that Brady Hoke was VERY SERIOUS INDEED about landing a blocking back in this crop. That brings Michigan's commitment total for the 2012 class to 20, with a class of 23-26 on tap (though there aren't that many spots available yet).
|2*, NR RB||NR RB||NR RB||Not in Database|
So, uh, I think it's fair to say this kid is a bit under-the-radar, no? Oddly, it seems that Michigan is recruiting him strictly as a fullback, although all three sites that have heard of him list him as a running back. And, well, they might be onto something. He's listed at a consensus 6-0, 215ish, which is really small for a fullback, unless his frame is really underdeveloped. Considering Michigan has offered a 6-3, 245-lb kid as a tailback for next year's class, it is quite curious indeed.
As a high schooler, he's the A-back (dive man) in a wishbone offense. That may be why schools think he's capable of playing fullback, but it also means he hasn't done a whole lot of lead blocking at this point. His video shows exactly what you'd expect: a guy who gets the ball surrounded by defenders, and instead of trying to go around them, he just keeps his legs churning and grinds out tough yardage. He's not going to go down on first contact, but that's more a result of effort and power, rather than impressive balance.
What is impressive is his ability to pull away from defenders should he happen to get through the first line of defense cleanly. He also shows the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, an important skill in a West Coast(ish) offense.
Apart from Michigan, it was mostly local(ish) schools that had offered. Utah and Utah State were joined by PAC-12 member Washington as the other schools that had extended offers to Sione.
Georgia Tech (noted fullback-users) had also showed interest, but did not extend an offer.
Scout and Rivals have the exact same stats for him, so I'm guessing they come straight from his coach's mouth:
As a junior Houma rushed for 1,211 yards and 9 touchdowns.
Without knowing how many carries that spans, it's impressive, but we can't be sure quite how impressive it is (his highlight reel embedded below says only 1,064 yards and 7 TDs, for the record). He was named first-team all-state.
FAKE 40 TIME
Once again, Scout and Rivals have the exact same information, so it's likely to be straight from the source: 4.53 seconds. If Michigan is indeed looking at this kid as a fullback, I would guess it's because he isn't very fast (the competition in Utah probably isn't the greatest either, so take the highlights with a grain of salt), so... four FAKEs out of five.
For a kid that the recruiting sites know next-to-nothing about, there certainly is a lot of video available on him. Highlights:
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Michigan has a couple fullback options in the class of 2011 (be they position-switchers or preferred walkons), which means they'll have at least a year in the system - and possibly a year on the field - on him by the time Sione enrolls next fall. That spells immediate redshirt, especially since he needs to bulk up to play fullback.
After that, however, your guess is as good as mine. A couple years on special teams (he would make a good coverage man with his toughness and surprising speed) are likely if he can't beat out those ahead of him. If he can, four years of starting is probably in the cards.
Fullback is not a glory position, and he's not going to be a Kevin Dudley-type masher, either. What he will bring is more ability with the ball in his hands, either running or catching it. That provides an offensive versatility, particularly because he could also be the lone back in sets where the running back motions, etc.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
The staff seemed intent on landing a fullback in this class, and they got one. Defensive tackle is still the biggest need for 2012, and other positions are rounding out nicely. Brady Hoke says this will be a nearly-full class of 23-26 kids, so the staff can fill a couple needs, while only worrying about elite prospects.