[Editor's note: frontpaged for obvious reasons. A scheduling mix-up with Brian caused this to get buried earlier, so I'm bringing it back near the top. [How much] Will Michigan rue the loss of Brandon Graham? - Tim]
[Note: I have 2006 fully loaded into the database now and will be included in all future multi-year studies along with 2007-2009.]
We can all agree that sacks and interceptions are good things for the defense and bad things for the offense. But how does a viable pass rush or a ball-hawking secondary affect the performance of the opposing offense on plays where there isn’t a sack or a pick. Likewise, what is the correlation between an offensive line that gives up sacks regularly or a mistake prone quarterback?
Sacks and interceptions have very similar direct impacts on games. From 2006-2009 in games between two D1 teams in competitive game situations (the “universe” for this and most of my analysis) the average defensive unit produced 2.3 ppg worth of sacks and 2.0 ppg worth of interceptions. Sacks have a slightly higher direct value than interceptions (interceptions returns and fumble returns on sacks are not included) but does either of these correlate to a better defensive performance overall.
Chart time? Let’s make it a double.
Not entirely surprisingly, the better a defense is at producing sacks and interceptions, the better it is on downs where neither occur.
For every point per game that a defense generates due to sacks, the overall pass rush generates 1.2 ppg of additional value. Interceptions are also powerful, but not as much so. Each ppg of value a defense generates through interceptions is worth 0.9 ppg of additional value.
This analysis serves to confirm what most football fans already know. Teams that can create interceptions and sacks are good going to be better defensive teams. Whether a strong pass rush/secondary creates pressure on other downs or if strong pass rushes and secondaries are a common occurrence on great defenses is irrelevant. As most of you probably know, defenses that are good at these two things are also good on other downs. So why is this interesting…
The story becomes very different when you look at offenses. The conventional wisdom that was supported for defenses is largely blown up on the offensive side of the ball. Sacks and interceptions may be indicators of great defenses, but they are not symptoms of bad offenses.
The slope of these two charts are about 20% of the gradient of the corresponding defensive charts and virtually flat. On offense, the amount of sacks and interceptions are largely independent of performance. There is obviously the immediate negative effect of the play, but giving up sacks or throwing interceptions show virtually no correlation to success or failure on other downs.
What it means?
For one of side of the ball it merely quantifies conventional wisdom. Good pass defenses get interceptions and sack the quarterback and teams that get interceptions and sack the quarterback are often good pass defenses, even on other plays. The value they create is roughly equal to value created by the big plays.
On offense, it’s a very different story. Interceptions and sacks will always be bad plays for an offense, but their rate of incidence is not strongly correlated to performance on other downs. In fact, if given the choice between a quarterback who threw a lot of picks the prior year but was generally successful otherwise and a quarterback who was very safe but not all that productive, my guess is you will be better of going for the quarterback with the picks.
Special thanks goes to Ty and The Lions in Winter who has been working on a similar line of reasoning for the Lions revamped defensive line.
Potential Future Diaries
Just some ideas I am kicking around or have half started. Let me know what you think about these or any other things you would like to see.
- A follow-up piece on fourth downs digging deeper into how the decision making changes based on the relative strengths of the offense and the opponents defense
- A broader look at “luck”, looking back over the last four years.
- When are extra yards not worth it. The secret dead zones of football.
- Probably not for several months, but a big season preview is in the works.
- Something Carr vs. Rodriguez, now that I have 2006-2007 seasons of data I have two years to compare the two more directly.
- How the best players of the last four years (TEBOW!!!) progressed over the years. Maybe a companion piece on Michigan defenders.
- Any other suggestions? An article a week means I need all the ideas I can get, I’m not afraid to beg!
I am out today, though Tim will drop a post or two in my absence and that Mathlete Diary will hit the front page if you're too lazy to click through. I have a Very Serious Professional Reason for this: I will be at Blogs With Balls in Chicago this weekend. There are tickets; if you are interested in getting a beer your best bet is crashing one of the official parties, which I do not endorse at all and shame you for even thinking of.
Via the miracle of technology, this is going to be streamed live(!) by Justin TV, including my panel, which is the first after lunch and will probably go on at like 1 or 1:30 or something. Orson is moderating, so it will be alcoholically entertaining. I cannot vouch for the other panels' sheer quantity of drunken magnificence, but Orson brings the wood.
Our panel is entitled "Democratizing Sports Media: How Blogging Players, Fans & Leagues Are Changing the Game," but these things tend to wander a bit from the chosen topic and various other things will probably pop up. I plan on pimping the Mathlete, Misopogon, MCalibur, Jamiemac, Six Zero, Tom, FA, Tim, and others as an example of how a popular blog sits on top of this vast community that can do amazing things if given space in which their effort can be appreciated.
As long as we're meta-ing it up in here, here's my Ignite talk from earlier in the year (click the first bookmark to go directly to my five minutes):
And here's this article by the Stack Overflow guy about what motivates people, how money isn't always helpful, and what makes communities go. If your model is hoping people do things for small amounts of money you're probably not going to be very successful and if you are it will be depressing. If your model is organizing it such that people will do things for free, you could be very successful and it will probably be pretty nice. The whole reason this site moved to Drupal is that I would get emails on a regular basis saying "hey here's my new blog!" and they'd post a couple times and then they'd go dead because it's hard out there for a blog. So: put 'em around here and you'll probably get a couple thousand views and a couple dozen comments and you'll be motivated to continue. Along the way we might get a definitive accounting of how much attrition Michigan has suffered relative to its peers or a post on fourth downs that gets linked a dozen places.
My plan for the site has been focused on making it as convenient, attractive, and easy to use as possible*—so no pagination, full feeds, content in and pipe that will take it, jumps only when they're warranted by a desire to cut down on clutter, increasingly high hurdles to clear for user-generated content, post-Illinois caterwauling lockdown. Doing so has increased the audience to the point where "Democratizing" sports media means that this place sits on top of grass roots instead of being a single shoot.
I'm back Monday.
*(With the single exception of the ads that provide enough revenue for the thing to be a job, which is kind of a requirement.)
I am about to head out to Chicago so of course this is breaking today: ninjas have descended upon the Big 12 meetings and are busy abducting various members of the Big 12. The Columbus Dispatch continues to use the FOIA for interesting things by getting this email from Gordon Gee that seems to confirm that all the lurid fantasies Big Ten fans have issued about Texas, Texas A&M, and all the other crazy proposals are true:
"I did speak with Bill Powers at Texas, who would welcome a call to say they have a 'Tech' problem," Gee wrote in an e-mail that was among several obtained by The Dispatch through a public-records request for documents and correspondence related to Big Ten expansion proposals.
Meanwhile, the Big 12 is cancelling press conferences, Iowa State is expressing its strong commitment to the Big Twelve, and everything else is going crazy. Now I get in a car. Yay for timing. BWB thing then out.
After the defection of Jack Campbell and failure to acquire any other goalie target, no one is entering or leaving. We can skip right to the main event, then: Hogan or Hunwick? That question wasn't even feasible when Hunwick was a 5'6"-ish walk-on with zero meaningful game experience even when Hogan was languishing around the 30th percentile in save percentage during a disappointing junior year. Ten games later, Hunwick is a real option after going 8-2 and posting a .918 save percentage.
I still have the nagging fear that Hunwick's tendency to leave fat, glistening rebounds in the slot several times a period will come back to hurt him badly when Michigan attempts to platoon him next year, but late in his playoff push he went from a terrifying goal waiting to happen to an incredibly quick little bastard whose ability to go post-to-post in no time flat allowed him to make a wide array of Grade A stops.
On the other hand, I still get creeped out whenever he has to jump at a puck that might be on net, and there is a great raging debate about the validity of save percentage as a metric even amongst professional goalies logging 2000 save seasons—the sample size on Hunwick's .918 is so far from statistical significance that not even David Berri would pretend it has meaning.
Hogan has been an enigma. As a sophomore he posted a .914 save percentage en route to a 1.97 GAA, the second-best in Michigan history. Last year, however, his save percentage plummeted to .901. Since this is a save percentage that does not look like much, but the standard deviation in save percentage last year was .0125: Hogan lost essentially one SD in the most relevant goalie stat tracked in college. Until his injury forced Hunwick into the lineup, he had played every minute of Michigan's season—his numbers are as meaningful as any college goalie's can be.
The end result: Hogan finished 53rd of 76 qualifying goalies in save percentage last year. Hunwick did not qualify due to a lack of appearances, but if he had he would have finished tied for 12th with Air Force goalie Andrew Volkening, who you may still wake up shivering about late at night, ahead of Michigan State's fine Drew Palmisano.
So what's going to happen? Early in the year it will be a repeat of the 2008 season in which the established veteran has established that he's not good enough to be given the job free and clear, no questions, and the new face (relatively new, in Hunwick's case) is given the opportunity to win the job free and clear. Last time Hogan and Billy Sauer played about even, but Sauer had this incredible ability to suck the mojo out of Wolverine forwards and ended up on the wrong end of a number of 2-1 decisions. Meanwhile, Hogan got fantastic goal support and won a bunch of games; with Sauer's two vast tournament failures fresh in the minds of all, he was shelved and things went very well until the aforementioned Volkening showed up.
The parallel last year is eerie: Michigan was a sloppy team last year until the instant Hunwick drew into the lineup, at which point the team started backchecking furiously and plunging into their own slot to clear out the plentiful rebounds that gathered there. Does this have anything to do with the guy in net? Not really. Has it been proven as a factor the coaches consider? Absolutely. Is it real? Probably right away, sure, but the probability Must… Protect… HUNWICK is a feeling that lasts through an offseason and a period of what should be persistent success next year is low. At some point the guy stops being an adorable walk-on and is just your starting goalie.
I have no idea what will happen here. Hunwick could backslide as his rebound control betrays him, and Hogan could bounce back to his junior-year form. If you put a gun to my head I would say Hunwick claims the starting job around midseason, but that is a prediction with nothing but good memories from the playoff run behind it. I don't think anyone has a clue here, including the coaches.
The 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board is your place for all-time updates. One important note before we get into individual prospects. Coach Rodriguez recently said the coaching staff will narrow its focus from about 150 offered prospects to "around 70" players. This may make me a little more comfortable removing guys that are less-discussed. The Michigan Elite Camp is this weekend, so that will provide a little clarity as well.
Chris Rock Goes Blue
Michigan gained a commitment from OH DE Chris Rock over the weekend (not the comedian). Unsurprisingly, the local papers in Columbus didn't pick up on the story, but Magnus breaks down his game on Touch the Banner:
To be honest, I'm not enamored with Rock. A large part of that is due to the fact that his highlight film is full of offensive linemen completely forgetting to block him. I find it difficult to get excited about a player who accrues a bunch of sacks while barreling unimpeded into the offensive backfield...
My biggest issue with Rock is that he stands straight up on the snap. He's able to push around weaker players when playing so high, but if he tried to push around a 310 lb. Big Ten tackle like that, Rock would get tossed around like a rag doll. He doesn't use his hands well to shed blocks, and he also finds himself losing contain a little too frequently. He has decent speed for a 250-pounder, so he can make up for his poor fundamentals at times. But some of his habits are less than ideal.
For more on Rock, read the Hello: Chris Rock post.
We transition from good news right into stuff not so positive, as a few prospects are coming off the board:
- AR QB Kiehl Frazier. He officially narrowed his list to Arkansas and Auburn last week, and then Black Righty Tebow committed to Auburn.
- OH QB Braxton Miller. He will choose between OSU (the likely destination), Florida, Notre Dame, and Alabama tomorrow.
- SC OL Brandon Shell. He's named a final 5 consisting entirely of Southern schools.
- FL CB Nick Waisome. He named a top 7 without Michigan in it.
Assume The Position: Wide Receiver
I did one of these a few weeks ago (for tight end), and with the amount of information available this week, it's time to take a closer look at the wide receiver position.
Michigan currently has one wide receiver commit, in Shawn Conway out of Birmingham Seaholm High School. Conway is a big outside leaper with great hands, in the mold of Braylon Edwards (though likely not as good, he probably won't have a case of the dropsies on easy balls, either). With the numbers of offers and visits taking place, it's clear that the Wolverines want one more outside guy, and maybe a slot receiver if they can find an elite one.
Fortunately for us, Sam Webb's weekly column in the Detroit News focused on on the wideout position last week, and ran down a few of the Wolverines' top targets. I don't intend to steal Sam's thunder by blockquoting too much of his article, but since the News evilly (and idiotically - good luck finding people to pay for it) puts its articles behind a paywall after a week, I'll be a little more liberal. Please click through to make up for it.
Sammy Watkins (at right):
"Sammy Watkins is the total package as a WR prospect," said Scout.com Florida analyst Geoff Vogt. "He can flat run, has incredibly light feet which allows him to make players miss in the open field, and a body to be that prototype 6-3, 215-pounder down the road.
"I have watched him snare balls thrown as bullets down the middle of the field and he will just leisurely catch them with one hand. He has elite hands. He runs very clean routes and understands how to get separation.
"While I view him as a WR prospect, Sammy could easily be a big-time safety if he chose to go that route."
Michigan, Miami (YTM), and Florida are his top 3. DeAnthony Arnett:
The second-rated prospect in the state dominated opponents in seven-on-seven competitions throughout the winter and spring thanks to his precise route-running and impressive quickness.
"It seems like every camp DeAnthony goes to, he kills it," said Scout.com Midwest analyst Allen Trieu. "He continued to impress with his route-running, hands, and ball skills at the Michigan Football Showcase. He made the play of the tournament when he went up between two defenders and made an outstanding catch to win a game. Arnett continues to move up in our eyes and has proven to be one of the very best in country."
If Michigan has a good season, the Wolverines will probably get back into the mix for Arnett. Theyr'e currently on the outside looking in. AJ Jordan:
"One of the top players in Ohio in his class," his Scout.com profile reads. "Also ranked one of the top 4 hurdlers in the nation. A smooth route runner with a great burst, he can make plays anywhere on the field and makes defenses game-plan against him."
On the recruiting roundup, Sam said Michigan is "definitely in the driver's seat" for Jordan. He'll decide earlier than the other two guys. Those are the three hottest prospects from a Michigan perspective, but there are a few more on the radar should all of these fall through. Michigan also has its eye on a few sot receivers, including NJ ATH Miles Shuler - though Northwestern leads ($, info in header - and MD ATH Darius Jennings.
Scout has had their 2011 prospects rankings out for a while, but the other two sites are slowly-but-surely releasing theirs. Both ESPN and Rivals now have the top recruits ranked, with neither site having any Michigan commits in their top group, but a number of Michigan targets. Some of those are longshots - FL DT Timmy Jernigan, who lists Michigan in his top 6, would still surprise everyone if he left the state of Florida - but many are realistic options. Magnus has a breakdown of Rivals's list. Top 100 lists were also released by the Sporting News and Tom Lemming.
Recruiting Quick Hits
You may remember that NC QB Marquise Williams recently named Michigan among his top three schools, before trimming his list to a final five. He's now made his decision timeline public, as he plans to commit to a school in October ($, info in header). He'll visit Ann Arbor for the Michigan State game on October 9th, so the Wolverines will be fresh in his mind when he makes a decision. I'll go into a little more depth on the QB recruiting situation next week.
Yay Demetrius and all that.
According to Cincinnati recruiting guru Mike Dyer, OH TE Benson Browne plans to visit Michigan this summer. My educated guess will be that he's coming in for camp to try for an offer. He currently holds them from West Virginia, Kansas, Louisville, Minnesota, Miami (Not That Miami) and Central Michigan.
Despite recently receiving a Michigan offer, OH TE Nick Vannett does not have UM in his top group. He's going to start taking trips soon, and wants to have a decision made by July.
FL OL Tony Posada will visit Michigan this summer ($, info in header). He also spoke to ESPN last week (video), mentioning Michigan first, and in his "big ones" category. He claims to be open at this time.
Though their class is starting to fill up, the Buckeyes will hold a spot open for IN DT/OL Joel Hale ($, info in header). It's unclear if Michigan is a player in his recruitment.
MGoBoard's very own Magnus breaks down the game of MD DT Vincent Croce on Touch The Banner:
Strengths: Listed at 5.17 but seemingly plays faster. Ability to chase some players from sideline to sideline. Relentless pass rusher. Very aggressive tackler. Strong upper body. Uses hands well to deliver good initial shock and shed blockers. Good initial surge off the line. Relatively lean frame
Weaknesses: Not a natural knee bender. Stands too high. May get overpowered by strong run-blocking guards. Played significant time at linebacker, which may stunt growth as defensive lineman.
Projection: Could be a solid rotation player as early as second year in program
His weaknesses are mostly technique-based, which could be worked on with college coaching. I also think playing DT only part-time may have led to some of that, and playing LB in high school actually means he has more upside than is shown on film.
GA DT Gabe Wright might officially visit Michigan:
“I’ll probably take all of my unofficial visits to schools that I can drive to and my officials to schools far away,” he says. “I will probably take official visits to schools like Miami, Michigan and maybe USC or UCLA. Also, I might visit Oregon State. It will be late before I make my decision.”
Taking an official would be a good sign for Michigan's chances to land him.
PA LB/DE Desimon Green will officially visit Michigan State, Texas Tech and Pitt, along with a couple other schools to be named later. He gave a slightly different top schools list to Tom, and is expecting a Michigan offer later this week.
TX LB Kellen Jones has picked up a Michigan offer, and called it "a dream come true" ($, info in header). THat sounds very promising should the Wolverines press him for a commitment.
Tom talked to OH LB Sean Duggan, who has Michigan in his top 5. However, it sounds like Notre Dame is a heavy favorite as long as they don't wait too long to offer. The Spartans offered him a couple days ago.
GA CB Avery Walls plans to visit Michigan at some point ($, info in header).
Tom also has (positive) updates on VA LB Corey Marshall, FL DE Giorgio Newberry, and NC LB Kris Frost, among others. Check out his post for the full info.
Michigan Sports Zone talked with NJ CB/RB Solomon Simpkins, and he mentioned that he has early interest in Michigan.
|Warren, OH - 6'6" 210|
|Scout||3*, #102 OLB|
|Rivals||3*, #28 OLB, #18 OH|
|ESPN||3*, 78, #29 OLB|
|Other Suitors||Michigan State, West Virginia|
|YMRMFSPA||Shawn Crable except skinnier|
|Previously On MGoBlog||Commitment post.|
|Notes||Warren G. Harding also produced Mario Manningham, Prescott Burgess, and classmate DJ Williamson.|
Linebacker Davion Rogers was another late pickup recruitniks were given little warning on. A longtime WVU commitment, Rogers went from totally off the radar to visiting to committed in the span of a few days, leaving West Virginia grasping (again: by that point Michigan had already pirated Pahokee DE/DT Richard Ash from the Mountaineers; the two defections were part of a disastrous post-Doc-Holliday-departure decommit binge) and Michigan fans scrambling to figure out how a high school linebacker could be skinnier than Shawn Crable. As of press time, this was still under investigation.
No, seriously. The 6'6" 210 you see above is the approximate mean of all the listed heights and weights I found, and it may significantly understate how close a resemblance there is between Rogers and a space elevator. When Greg Ladky took in Harding's 10-7 loss against St. Ignatius and Jake Ryan, he noted the roster listed him at 6'7"(!) and 190 pounds(!!!). Do not take this man parasailing. He will not land.
As you might expect when the topic is a 6'7" stick of a linebacker, Rogers sounds an awful lot like Shawn Crable. Worm02, a guy who has hung around the internet talking about WGH players for years now, makes the direct comparison to the former Massillon flightless bird:
When you see his height, you think of Shawn Crable. Davion is very good, but I think that SC was better in high school. I'll never forget when Massillon came to WGH in '02, When we (Harding fans) saw Crable, we just said "Wow!" Back then, Crable weighed a good 25-30 pounds more than DR does now, and he was every bit as good as he was hyped up to be. …
Anyway, Davion has definitely come a long way. Last year, he got his offers based on potential, but this past season, I can honestly say that he played like a guy that was going to play major college football. He reacts quickly, flies to the ball well, plays to the end regardless of the outcome, etc. He's a guy that college coaches can do a lot with because of what he brings to the table. With his frame, I expect him to stay at linebacker, but WVU was actually looking at him as a possible safety.
ESPN, as they are wont to do sometimes, marries a good but not great rating with a panting evaluation. In the process they do not actually say "Crable," but they don't have to:
Rogers has the chance to a very special player at the next level because of his natural tools. He has exceptional height for a safety or outside linebacker but could gain some weight and be a dominating rush end on defense. Flows, closes and has very good range for such a tall player. Looks like a basketball player in cleats and displays toughness and good football savvy. Keeps leverage on the football when filling from the inside out. Uses hands well to shed blockers and get to the football. Could be a better knee bender but sinks his hips pretty well when making the hit. Excellent on the outside blitz demonstrating the ability to get off the ball quickly and has a burst when coming off the edge. Often sacks the quarterback or flushes him out of the pocket; shows the ability to chase the ball down from behind. Long arms are a big asset in keeping blockers off his body and wrapping up ball carriers. Rogers is very athletic for a man of his height with good speed and quickness.
That is almost exactly Crable. Crable had 30 pounds on Rogers (and still looked like a man with chicken legs) coming out of high school and therefore was a lot easier to project on the college level; other than that admittedly sizeable (HA!) difference these men are clones. His coach did not get the memo, unfortunately, choosing to compare Rogers to former Michigan linebacker Prescott Burgess, also a WGH alum:
“He always seems to come up with a play when you need one, it just happens. And that’s kind of how Prescott was as a junior. He was kind of banged up his senior year, but when he did get to play it just seemed like he made a play when you needed it. He had natural instincts.” …
"Athletically he's ready. He’s a pretty explosive player, has great knee bend. There’s a lot of great things to say about him."
In another article that Tim cited in Rogers's commitment post now lost down the newspaper archive memory hole, Dota's praise is even higher:
"He'll run down things from behind. If it's run at him, he pretty much destroys it. He's probably our best defensive player and our defense is pretty good. He's just been all over the field. He has that knack to find the football. We've asked him to do a bunch of different things this year and he's done a great job understanding what he needs to do for us. …
He's a great blitzer off the edge. Really, anything you ask him to do he does really well because of his athletic ability, which is really shocking because of his height. He plays really fast. … I think he can play at the next level - the NFL I think his game will only improve. His game has improved some much in a year. The mental knowledge, he understands what's going on around him."
Even traditionally dour local evaluator Magnus gets on board:
Watching film of him, Rogers has incredible physical talent. The most impressive thing about him is his speed. He's able to catch up to skill players from behind. His wingspan also helps him latch onto and wrap up players who might be out of a shorter player's reach. Once he gains strength, that wingspan should also afford him the ability to keep offensive tackles out of his chest.
Concerns are expressed about pursuit angles and his tendency to reach while tackling, but those are things that will get fixed as Rogers packs on pounds during his prep year or two.
Those weaknesses do indicate the main area in which Rogers needs to improve. As you might imagine, he has some difficulty playing the run since blockers can get into his midsection so easily. More from Rivals on that game against St. Igs:
STRENGTHS: Very good lateral movement for a 6-foot-6 prospect. Rogers is a force as a pass rusher and uses his length to make it difficult for ball carriers to get around him. St. Ignatius' quarterback Mark Myers was able to avoid sacks all night, except when Rogers was breathing down his neck.
WEAKNESSES: Rogers needs to be more physical taking on blockers, then shedding those blocks to make tackles.
Ladky's preseason evaluation also mentions the deficiency when taking on blockers coming at him:
Rogers is still pretty skinny, but is clearly athletic and very rangy. … He needs to improve against the run and increase his aggressiveness in taking on blockers, but as he fills in his frame, he could be a monster off the edge.
That will also be something Michigan works on.
Other evaluations are similar. Lemming says he is "tall and athletic" and "showed a lot of speed on the edge" while using his "long arms to his advantage when disengaging from the OT." JJ Huddle ranked him 29th in the state before his strong senior year, calling him a "a tall long-armed defender that has huge upside and growth potential" who is "fluid enough to drop back in coverage" and can rush off the edge. Ohio Varsity analyst Mike Parris notes the obvious redshirt stuff and then says he could be the proverbial "special talent."
The downside: Scout was way less enthused than the other two sites but that appears to be based on little. His profile shows a total of three stories on him, and a site search turns up nothing except articles from GBW and the WVU site. No one who had a say in rankings had anything to say about him the whole year. Since the WVU ESPN affiliate had to prod ESPN into watching the guy's tape, maybe Rogers managed to slide under the radar. How, I don't know. I'd expect people to take note of a 6'6" linebacker. Obviously he avoided the combine circuit.
After all that, Rogers's recruitment was abbreviated by an early commitment to West Virginia. He had a Michigan State offer at that point as well. His commitment and some questionable grades (about which more later) saw his recruitment go dead. Prior to his visit to Michigan he was not even known to be a soft commit, and his immediate switch prevented anyone else from getting involved. Due to the grade issues and the early commit, offers aren't a great metric here.
At Michigan, Rogers will be an outside linebacker until such time as he outgrows the position and slides into Craig Roh's current role as a LB/DE hybrid. West Virginia was actually thinking about him as as safety:
"They like me at linebacker, but they might look into playing me as a strong safety," Rogers said. "I'll do whatever they ask me to do. I just want to be able represent myself the best way that I can. I'm looking forward to any opportunity that they give me to play. I'm very excited."
That likely won't happen at Michigan but it speaks well of his physical abilities. As does Rogers himself from the same article:
"I've got the feet of a safety, I hit like a linebacker and the size of a defensive end. I get to the ball. No matter what I'm going to get to the ball. I'm determined to get to that ball."
Rogers is a high ceiling guy with a very long way to go, a quintessential boom-or-bust type. The two sites above that have him around #30 nationally as an OLB are ranking him fairly—with so much projection required it's hard to justify higher placement—but Rogers is the kind of guy who can be a star on a great defense. Michigan does not have many of those at linebacker of late.
Brief but necessary grade section. So this is kind of a hilarious dig at one of Michigan's rivals and their quasi-rival:
Rogers said he committed to West Virginia over Michigan State early in the recruiting process because “my grade situation, it was looking bad,” and he didn’t know what other offers he’d receive.
Unfortunately, that dig is a little unsettling given the issues with Antonio Kinard and Demar Dorsey. FWIW, Webb said he had confirmed that everyone else was good to go, and Worm02 notes that Rogers has picked it up now that he knows what's on the line:
I'm definitely going to be on him about how he goes about handling his business as he prepares for the next level, but lately he's been doing a pretty good job of doing what he has to do. I'm definitely excited for him.
So he's qualified but it sounds like he might be a little marginal. His coach says "I just hope that when he gets there he takes on what he needs to do, and I think he will" in the Birkett article linked above.
Why Shawn Crable? Obvious.
Etc.: West Virginia decommit bitchin'.
Guru Reliability: Moderate. We obviously know what we're getting and WGH is a heavily scouted school, but the major difference in the Scout evaluation and the fact Rogers has to put on 20, 30, 40 pounds before playing make projecting him difficult. A Rogers that is just as fast as this Rogers but weighs 250 is a first round pick, but that's quite a trick there.
General Excitement Level: High, eventually. Most of the scouting reports report some outrageous athleticism just waiting to be developed. The crazy frame gives him a major advantage coming off the edge and his athleticism is such that West Virginia was actually looking at him as a
Projection: Will take the Crable/Roundtree Memorial redshirt-so-you-don't-get-broken-in-half, and will probably get only sparing time in 2011; in 2012 and beyond will be an edge-rushing terror as an outside linebacker.