The D-League as petri dish for weird basketball concepts.
|Ottawa, MI - 6'1" 225|
|Scout||3*, #42 MLB|
|Rivals||3*, #25 MI|
|ESPN||3*, 78, #24 MLB|
|Others||247: 3*, 83, NR|
|Previously On MGoBlog||Tom interviews him. Commitment post from Tim.|
|Notes||If he tells you you should claim $10.5 M US dollars, don't do it. OMG shirtless.|
Preseason interview featuring HALFSHIRT in which he kicks the crap out of practice equipment. He was interviewed after the local All-Star game by some guy who didn't know he had a scholarship and didn't thonk him on the head.
Desmond Morgan joins the legion of Michigan defensive players who were high school quarterbacks. When Pharaoh Brown arrives next year Michigan will have former QBs at DE (Brown), LB (Morgan), and DB (Courtney Avery). Missing on "Big Tex" Beachum is the only thing between Michigan and a full set of QB-on-D-Pokemon.
As a result, Morgan's highlights are a little weird, alternating thumping tackles from a linebacker with thumping stiffarms from a linebacker who happens to be taking snaps from center. They're weird, but not exactly bad—while taking highlight video at face value is silly, man does Morgan light some dudes up. When Desmond Morgan impacts a high school football player that player suddenly starts going in the same direction Morgan is.
“I don’t remember a time I haven’t watched Michigan football,” said Morgan, a 6-foot-1, 230-pound defensive standout. “I always idolized them as a kid. I’ve had the dream of playing in front of 112,000 fans on a Saturday afternoon.”
…and committed soon after. This prompted the recruiting sites to find out who the heck this guy was and offer the usual generic three stars provided most random sleepers who commit to a big school. Before that he had an offer from Northwestern and a few MAC schools. He has the profile of just a guy…
…but the scouting reports are kind of awesome. Scout's profile declares his positives to be "instincts," "hitting ability," and "lateral movement"—yes please—while knocking his size:
Smart, instinctive linebacker who fills gaps and always seems to be in the right place at the right time. Has good lateral movement, solid foot speed, and has shown he can play sideline to sideline. Gets good depth in his drops in coverage and makes receivers think twice before coming across the middle. Good pop as a tackler, hits low and drives. Will need to add some weight when he gets to the next level. - Allen Trieu
I'm not sure about that downside. Morgan may not be 6'3" but he is a thick, punishing dude on both sides of the ball. Virtually all freshman have to put on weight; Morgan has to put on a lot less than, say, Antonio Poole and his 195-ish pounds.
Touch The Banner is also positive but isn't clamoring for extra stars:
… I fully expect Morgan to play middle linebacker at the next level. He has the prototypical body type for the position. He flows well to the ball and keeps his shoulders square to the line of scrimmage. And when he hits, he puts some force behind it. You can tell by the way he runs the ball and the way he tackles that he understands leverage and getting underneath his opponent. He also times his blitzes well and stays under control when attacking.
I understand why he's a 3-star kid. He's not a quick-twitch athlete. He looks like the type of player who will fill out to be about 245 lbs., plug his gap, make a bunch of tackles, contribute as a blocker or wedge buster on special teams, and just be a solid overall player.
ESPN($) liked him more than anyone else, rating him the #9 player in the state and the #24 MLB. Their evaluation reflects that:
Morgan is a very tough run stopper; displays dominant playing strength at the point of attack. Has the size and athleticism for the inside linebacker position at the major level of competition. His tough knock'em back tackling ability suggests very good potential as a special team's coverage player…. This prospect does a very good job with K&D recognition skills against the run; gets a good jump on the play, demonstrating tough, downhill stacking ability against the inside run. We like his hand use, showing the physical playing strength to take on and defeat blockers at the point; demonstrates the ability to play low and keep his feet free when moving laterally vs. the outside run. Flashes good underneath screen recognition ability however all area of coverage will need refinement; man coverage assignments must be carefully evaluated. This guy plays with the intensity and motor we look for when evaluating the ILB position; his tough tackling ability makes runners pay the price.
Other scouting reports are much in the same vein. Allen Trieu calls him a "throwback($)" who "will fill gaps and strike ballcarriers with bad intentions" while remaining coachable. He got his Michigan offer by proving his ability to pursue and get to the sideline as a senior:
Morgan has had a fantastic senior year. We knew coming into the year that he was a physical player with good instincts, toughness and tackling technique. The rise in the ranking is due to him showing the athleticism he has throughout the year. At quarterback, his agility and speed have proven to us that he can be an every down, sideline to sideline linebacker. Even though it was his offensive highlights that we saw this on, he has raised his game on defense as well, making play after play against the state's best teams.
The concern with linebacker highlights is they might obscure a large number of brainfarts where the guy ends up on the other side of the field from the ball, but the scouting reports—and Morgan's 4.0 GPA and 27 ACT, he probably could have gotten in without football—specifically praise his smarts. It's obvious why. Listen to either of the interviews above and compare to yourself at 17, and then there's this from a Touch The Banner interview:
"What are my greatest weaknesses? I'll be honest; I have quite a few of them. I'd say my biggest one would be my pass coverage and recognizing when two receivers are crossing, which one is the biggest threat, and [recognizing] which DB needs the most help picking up a guy coming across, things like that. So I'm working on that, getting depth and recognizing the different routes and being able to get underneath, making a play on the ball. In high school, we didn't have to do that as much, especially with all of the man coverage that we ran. And with line backing, I'd say we were usually more focused on the run. So the biggest thing I'm working on is helping my pass coverage game out."
Um… so… that's extremely specific and encouraging in a Zen sense. Desmond Morgan, like Brady Hoke, appears to know what he does not know. That has a lot to do with his dad, a longtime high school coach who taught him much of what he knows:
It was [father] Scott who helped teach the game to Desmond from his experience of playing and coaching at Ferris State University, followed by many years in the High School coaching ranks. Mr. Morgan still helps his son break down film at home and provides another set of eyes through which to see the opposition. It was clear how much Desmond has learned and appreciates from his father, “Everything I’ve learned has been from my Dad, he’s had a great impact on my life, as well as the rest of my family,” Morgan said. “Going off to college it will be different because you won’t have that guy to lean on anymore, that guy to point out stuff when you might not see it.”
[note: above article comes from a site called "West Michigan All Star" that kicks out a ton of excellent content if you're into preps and whatnot on that side of the state.]
His senior stats (72 tackles, 4 FF) were a little depressed by a shoulder injury that kept him out of one game and forced him to only play QB in a couple others. That doesn't make him injury prone—he only missed three games in four years on varsity, and as a senior he played both ways most of the time. When healthy and exclusively a defender, Morgan made 120 tackles as a junior.
And now for the parade of fawning quotes. His athletic director:
“His work ethic is second to none,” Marsman said. “He’s a very, very hard worker and an excellent leader. He’s a great kid, very humble and not cocky at all, but confident. And he’s a great student (4.0 GPA, 27 ACT). He takes his academics very seriously.”
“He knows where everybody is supposed to be. He makes the calls on defense and just his presence out there makes other guys around him better as well,” Caserta said. “… When you gameplan against us, you have to put at least a couple guys on him, and it makes the guys around him better.”
An opposing coach (link ibid):
“Desmond Morgan playing sideline to sideline, that kid can play at any college right now and I’ve admired that kid,” Fairfield said after his team won 28-14. “That kid has inspired our defense, just watching him on film. “He comes out here and runs like he’s Ironman. I’m glad our linebackers had a chance to play against him, because he made us grow up and realize how to play linebacker.”
And Brady Hoke dropping not one but two instances of "tremendous":
“I mentioned how tailbacks usually are the best athletes on the team. Well in this sense, he was a quarterback and a linebacker and a tremendous athlete,” Hoke said about Morgan on the first day coaches are allowed by the NCAA to comment on the year’s recruiting class. “A lot of things they did offensively with the ball in his hands, decision making, all those things, and then how he liked to attack the line of scrimmage from a defensive perspective is something that got us excited, and he’s a tremendous young man, and we’re excited about him.”
Why Carl Diggs? If you disqualify David Harris on the grounds that it's unreasonable to expect a random three-star to turn into one of the best MLBs in the NFL you have to go back a ways to find a Michigan middle linebacker who made a habit of thumping, evil tackles. You have to go all the way back to Diggs.
Diggs didn't quite have the athleticism to be a star and wasn't a great cover guy but he was a three-year starter who was a fringe All Big Ten sort and a captain as a senior. Random scouting report($) on Diggs from a Bears site:
Pos: Tough, versatile linebacker best in the box. Quickly diagnoses the action, knifes up the field and forceful making in run defense. Breaks down well, strong at the point of attack and wraps the ball handler. Goes sideline-to-sideline, displays an adequate change of direction and gets depth on drops in zone coverage.
Neg: Lacks overall instincts in pass defense and skill in man coverage. Does not always play under great control and takes himself from the action at times
That is almost a replica of the ESPN report above.
Guru Reliability: Moderate. Fairly large spread, but a sleeper sort who improved a lot as a senior and isn't from the most heavily scouted area of the world. Seeming disconnect between scouting reports and rankings, though ESPN does that all the time.
General Excitement Level: Irrationally high. Most of the time I try to stick to offers and scouting reports and rankings when formulating this section but sometimes random three stars get me pumped up. Here we've got a punishing 225-pound coach's kid with excellent intelligence and enough athleticism to play quarterback. Everyone already moving him to fullback (as the emailer does, not Magnus) is doing him a disservice. Desmond Morgan is this year's MGoBlog Sleeper of the Year.
Projection: Kenny Demens presumably has MLB locked down the next two years; Morgan should redshirt, apprentice, and then battle for the job as a redshirt sophomore. Unless Jake Ryan moves to the middle because he's too good to keep off the field he's as good a bet as anyone to win that competition. Classmate Kellen Jones and this year's linebacker flood will be the main competition.
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Or continues invading Ohio, as the case may be.
Jarrod Wilson and Kyle Kalis Go Blue
The 2012 trend of picking up prospects in pairs has returned with a vengeance, as Michigan earned commitments from two top Ohio prospects over the weekend.
OH S Jarrod Wilson kicked off the festivities on Friday, picking the Wolverines over Notre Dame and Penn State in a ceremony at his school. Touch the Banner on Jarrod:
He has the size, speed, tackling ability, and ballhawking instincts that Michigan teams have been lacking for the last several years. And, perhaps best of all, he's the elusive Michigan-recruited safety who actually looks like a safety and not a linebacker.
Wilson is the first safety Michigan’s recruited since Demar Dorsey that I’d be comfortable sticking in a Cover 1 situation. He doesn’t have elite top-end speed, but that’s more important for cornerbacks than safeties. His acceleration and instincts are more than enough to be a top-flight safety in the Big Ten.
For more on Jarrod, check out Hello: Jarrod Wilson. Despite Wilson's accolades and ability, the real headliner of the weekend (and probably even the 2012 class to date) was OH OL Kyle Kalis, who committed to Michigan in an unorthodox way on Sunday:
Kalis said he visited Michigan last weekend and called coach Brady Hoke from the "M" logo at the middle of the field at Michigan Stadium to inform him he was coming to Ann Arbor.
He also has plenty of incendiary things to say about Ohio State, much to the delight of any Michigan fan:
"I can't go there (Ohio State) and take penalties for something I never did," Kalis told ESPN.com on Monday. "Ohio State is a great program. I'm just not sure how long it will take them to recover. I want a solid, grounded coaching staff with a safe environment. Where there aren't such tough questions."
"He is the type of guy I want to play for," Kalis said. "(Hoke) has an incredible amount of passion. I believe the Michigan-Ohio border is now open."
Kyle comes out of his stance very well for such a big, young player. He's quick off the ball, and his footwork is impeccable. He rarely wastes any movement or gets his feet crossed up, and he keeps a wide base when blocking, which allows him to latch onto blocks and not let go.
All through his blocks, his feet are pumping at a mile-a-minute. He’s got good knee bend and gets out of his 3-point stance with a flat back, a crucial trait for maintaining good balance while blocking. He’s athletic for his 300-pound size, and is a great pull and trap lineman. Just like Erik Magnuson, I really like his nasty disposition on the football field, as well as his upper body strength that allows him to manipulate opponents in whichever way he’d like.
Go Blue Michigan Wolverine talks a little bit about what he needs to work on:
Kyle has average arm length and this could pose problems against super edge rushers. If his arms were three inches longer the drool factor would be off the charts for talent watchers. Watch Kyle’s film and his set up at the line tips off whether he is going to pass block, drive block, trap or pull. No big deal.
For more on Kalis's game, check out the Hello: Kyle Kalis post.
Assume the Position: Quarterback
OH QB Maty Mauk committed to Missouri last week, taking yet another of Michigan's options at the position off the table.
There are only three quarterbacks in the country that hold Michigan offers and are not committed to any school. One of them, FL QB Bennie Coney, has told Tom that Michigan is eliminated from consideration. IN QB Gunner Kiel has been pretty quiet lately, but the general vibe is that Michigan is just below the top couple schools, and Indiana (of all teams!) might lead for his services.
If the Wolverines can't land a top pro-style quarterback, they have three other options: 1) take a lesser-rated pocket passer, 2) pass on a 2012 QB, or 3) take a dual-threat guy, with the option of moving positions down the road.
The third QB currently holding an offer, NJ QB/S Devin Fuller, fits into the final category. He recently sat down for a live chat with Rivals (HT: Braylon Edwards (I'm going to go out on a limb and assume NTBE)). Relevant portions:
Comment From brad who are the schools coming at you the hardest?
Devin Fuller: Brad: I would say UCLA, Nebraska, Rutgers, Michigan, and Penn State too. All are pretty close but those are the ones that stick out.
Comment From nemesisx24 Any idea when you will get a chance to visit michigan?
Devin Fuller: Nemesis: Probably late July or early August.
Comment From Guest What about Michigan sticks out to you the most; to make you want to visit?
Devin Fuller: Guest: The Michigan way. The big stadium. You know, just the Michigan way of doing things.
Comment From Guest Have you been in contact with any of Michigan's 18 commits?
Devin Fuller: Guest: Actually, no ... I haven't been
He also seems pretty set on getting a chance at quarterback, though schools are recruiting him at a variety of positions (slot receiver and various DB slots). If Michigan strikes out on a top QB this year, perhaps he could start out at QB as a stopgap before Shane Morris arrives on campus?
Tom continued his interviews with the coaches of CA OL Commit Erik Magnuson with his high school offensive line coach:
By far he's the best I've coached. I was very fortunate to coach John and Dan Saleaumua, Danny played for the Chiefs in the NFL. Those guys were probably the closest to Erik. The Saleaumua brothers were brute force guys. Erik is a guy that can go in and compete, and once he gets out on the edge he's so athletic it allows us to do most things others can't.
Right now I think he is without a doubt the best pass blocking lineman. The guy can pass block anybody... He has great form and technique. He's going to get way better once he gets stronger. He trains like no one else. He could survive at Michigan right away. The one thing we work on here is just to get his frame extended a little more, getting his chest up a little more. His strength is pass block, he needs to work on his run block which will come with strength and learning [Darrell] Funk's system.
Long quote, but too much good information to cut anything out.
Michigan is recruiting PA LB Deaysean Rippy as a safety (the only school doing so). The Wolverines aren't mentioned much with him, and the robust DB/LB recruiting crop means there's no chance he ends up in the class.
Notre Dame and Tennessee lead Michigan, Iowa, and Ohio State in the race for OH DE LaTroy Lewis (Mr. SEC has a very limited understanding of what the term "final" means). I'm guessing Michigan isn't very interested in any non-Wormley/Washington defensive ends at this point.
MD DE Ryan Watson is "in no rush" to come to a decision ($, info in header). Though if he wants to come to Michigan - the Wolverines are still on his list, and he plans to visit soon - he might run out of luck by taking his time.
MO WR Jehu Chesson will visit Michigan soon.
Michigan is one of five schools that have offered WA OL Zach Banner scholarships in both football and basketball.
PA OL Adam Bisnowaty wants to take his visits before making a college decision.
OH DE Adolphus Washington has Michigan, but not Ohio State, in his top 5.
Those concerned about losing the greyshirt commitment of KY S Jeremy Clark need not worry, as he's still solid to Michigan, despite picking up some offers ($, info in header).
Tom's Weekly Update includes tidbits from commits Mario Ojemudia and Erik Magnuson talking about their experiences at The Opening.
The BBQ at the Big House recruiting event has returned, and Tom has a tentative list of attendees:
Commit OL Caleb Stacey
Commit LB Joe Bolden
Commit LB Kaleb Ringer
Commit LB Royce Jenkins-Stone
Commit DB Terry Richardson
Commit LB James Ross
Commit DE Matt Godin
Commit DB Allen Gant
Commit TE Devin Funchess
Commit DE Tom Strobel
Commit OL Ben Braden
DT Danny O'Brien
2013 RB Wyatt Shallman
WR Jehu Chesson: He told me he believes he will be there.
2013 OL Steven Elmer: His father told me they will be at the BBQ. As I reported on Twitter earlier, he and his father were on campus on Monday the 10th. It wasn't a football related visit, just more to walk around campus and see things.
Commit OL Kyle Kalis: Says he's not sure yet. I'd imagine he'd be there, but we'll see.
DT Ondre Pipkins: There's a chance, but he doesn't know yet
OL Jordan Diamond: They're not sure if they are yet, but there's a good chance they will be. His mom told me, "Any excuse to visit. We'd like to go."
It's still a couple weeks away, so stay tuned for updates to the list. The Kyle Kalis commitment has really gotten the attention of OH RB Bri'Onte Dunn. He's been insisting for the past several weeks that his commitment to Ohio State is solid, but the tide may be turning. He's a possible visitor for the BBQ, as well.
Happy Trails, PA DE Dakota Conwell. I didn't hear his name mentioned much with Michigan prior to his Pitt commitment.
MI OL Kyle Knapp didn't have much interest from the in-state schools, and has committed to Syracuse.
Happy Trails SC WR Jody Fuller, who committed to South Carolina.
Scout previews the in-state crop for next year's class. QB Commit Shane Morris is neck-and-neck with OL Steve Elmer, according to Allen Trieu:
The great thing about both guys is, they're great kids and student athletes as well who will represent the state of Michigan well. Left tackle and quarterback are typically two of the most sought after, important positions in football, and both of these guys have the goods.
Elmer was on campus earlier this week ($, info in header), so Michigan has at least a chance to lock up the top two in-state prospects for 2013.
Borges in detail. I referenced this interview with Borges yesterday but I didn't actually listen to it. That turned out to be a mistake because in addition to the boilerplate about turnovers Borges said a couple of interesting things. Specifically about the shotgun percentage:
We’re going to be under center about half the time, and we’ll be in shotgun more than I’ve ever run before.
That's the baseline; it will be interesting to see how that breakdown moves as the season progresses. If the under center stuff is less effective (and Borges prefaced the above quote with a fairly ominous sentence or three about how different dropping back from under center is from taking a shotgun snap) how far is Borges willing to depart from the pro-style approach?
Meanwhile, I'm a bit leery about this:
So much of what they have done here in the past is based on Denard’s ability to run, and then he would pull up and then kind of pass underneath coverage and throw the ball down the seams. They killed people with that stuff. ... A big part of our game is running the intermediate cuts and being able to be precise coming out of the breaks and learning the timing and all that. In that regard, we are different than the last staff because, although they had those routes, we just use them more. It’s going to be a little transition for them, but like Denard, our receiving corps has been very receptive to the changes.
Michigan did do a fair amount of intermediate stuff last year but a lot of it was constraint stuff built around Denard's legs that was witheringly open. When coverage gets tight I can't help but think of the Michigan State game, when Denard threw two end-zone interceptions on plays that John Navarre would have made without blinking. (The first of those was just plain wide open; the second was a slant where there was a window for a pro QB that Denard missed badly on. At the time those seemed anomalous but by the end of the year his INT rate had sunk to the Jacobian depths.)
Offseason hype is at its usual fever pitch about the transition; Grady Brooks and etc etc etc.
They put in lights for a reason. Amidst a lot of talk about branding Dave Brandon drops this about the future of night games in Ann Arbor:
Night football is so popular right now. What's the future outlook there for Michigan?
DB: We've not committed to any more night football games until we get the experience of Sept. 10. We're going to see how this goes, execute this at a high level, have it be a safe, positive experience for our fans. If it's a good experience and we execute it well and it's overall a positive night for our community and for our fans and our players and coaches, my expectations would be we would try to do a night game at least once a year. I don't know that we would necessarily go much beyond that, but to have one a year in Michigan Stadium would be a great goal.
At least he's got the hang of the first person plural these days.
I'm in favor of the occasional night game because it might let me see the Red River Shootout once before I die and I hate missing the 3:30 window so much. Just maybe not so much with the "legacy throwback" uniforms that are neither throwbacks nor part of Michigan's legacy.
Be careful what you wish for. I googled Troy Smith's violations to see whether or not Ohio State was exposed to repeat violator status because of them*, and in the process I ran across this remarkable article from a couple Septembers ago:
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Maurice Clarett and Troy Smith for Ohio State. Reggie Bush and basketball's O.J. Mayo for USC.
As the Buckeyes and Trojans prepare to meet Saturday night, they do so with recent athletic success that also includes NCAA investigations of their brightest stars.
Ohio State's Terrelle Pryor is currently the biggest name on this national stage, and it's not unreasonable to wonder what might happen with the NCAA and the most high-profile football recruit of the last several years. The NCAA has already conducted an on-campus investigation of Pryor's recruitment to Ohio State, which resulted in two minor secondary NCAA violations.
It's time for Gene Smith to say something regrettable:
"I kind of look at them as the auditors," Smith said of the NCAA. "I welcome auditors because all they do is help us do a better job ourselves."
And time for Jim Tressel to one-up that like whoah:
"Especially as an administrator and as a head coach, you always want things evaluated," Tressel said. "Because if one of Gene Smith's coaches' isn't doing something right, he needs to know. So I don't think you ever worry about that as long as you don't have anything to worry about."
*[The verdict appears to be yes even though IIRC the NCAA only issued a secondary violation after Ohio State's thorough investigation only turned up the one guy who had taken a $500 handshake. The OSU response admits they are subject to repeat violator status but only addresses the old basketball allegations in its attempt to mitigate. Troy Smith does not come up.]
Windows. Yost will uncover them as part of the renovation; they were covered because direct sunlight was bad for ice back in the day. SCIENCE(!) has taken care of it. No word about returning the Old Man's head.
Meanwhile in chaos. The Super League has named itself the "National Collegiate Hockey Conference" because the nation consists of a smattering of Midwestern states and North Dakota. This is not a very good name but their first tweet…
First @TheNCHC tweet: "We are exciting to announce the formation of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference."
…implies that it sounds really cool in Japanese and just needs a better translator.
Also Western is so gone from the CCHA, yo:
"We've positioned ourselves, telling people the value in Western Michigan," said Beauregard, who has formed a "Why Western" campaign to sell the program to other universities and existing and potential conferences.
"We want to hear what they have to say." …
"We've had close conversations with Notre Dame," Beauregard said. "We want to follow them and be a part of what they end up doing."
Getting dragged along with ND because they're a convenient bus ride from South Bend is quite a break for a team that spent most of the last decade battling BGSU for last place in the CCHA.
Or maybe it's not a break since without Blashill the most logical landing spot for them is the cellar of the Badly Translated From Japanese Conference. Congratulations, you're Michigan Tech. If they stuck in the CCHA they'd instantly be in contention for an autobid; if they succeed in persuading the BTFJC they're worthy the next time they see the NCAA tournament the skies will be red with blood and Mel Gibson (only Mel Gibson) will have been raptured up.
The remaining CCHA teams have been trying to meet with the remnants of the WCHA, but the WCHA is trying to find room on its rolodex between "eject all tournament teams" and "blither aimlessly"; NMU would really like to hook up at some point in the future but will be washing its hair until 2013. Any day now we'll start hearing about Niagara and Robert Morris and etc.
I've had a lot of questions about where Michigan's 2012 recruiting class will be ranked come February. This is almost impossible to predict since there are no constants in the recruiting world. Since that won't satisfy anyone though I figured I would give you a projection based off of past years, and what Michigan's class could potentially look like around signing day.
This is all conjecture based off the assumption that nothing will change with Michigan's current commitments. It's more or less for fun. Don't take it too seriously.
Michigan currently has 19 commitments not counting greyshirt Jeremy Clark. There are 10 four star prospects committed and 9 three stars. We'll also assume that Michigan is going to take 25-26 prospects, just for argument sake meaning there are 6-7 spots left. In order to project where the class will be ranked let's first look at how the class could close out [For simplicity all star rankings are per Rivals].
|Jordan Diamond||Illinois||6'6", 289 lbs.||4|
|Josh Garnett||Washington||6'5", 275 lbs||4|
|Adam Bisnowaty||Pennsylvania||6'6", 275 lbs||4|
|Zach Banner||Washington||6'9", 310 lbs||4|
Michigan is only taking one more prospect from this group. I kept these names on because these are the most likely prospects to choose Michigan. We'll project Michigan will land one more 4 star prospect for the class from the offensive line.
|Aziz Shittu||California||6'3", 275 lbs||5|
|Ondre Pipkins||Missouri||6'3", 325 lbs||4|
|Danny O'Brien||Michigan||6'2", 293 lbs||
The coaches have told some of these prospects that they will only be taking one more interior lineman, but I still think there's a good chance they take two. We'll just assume for this exercise that they'll take two. The most likely from that group are Pipkins and O'Brien, so let's add two 4 star prospects to the list from the defensive tackle group.
|Adolphus Washington||Ohio||6'4", 230 lbs.||4|
|Chris Wormley||Ohio||6'4", 255 lbs.||3|
You're probably only looking at one prospect from this group if you want two defensive tackles. Until Adolphus Washington actually visits I'm not sure where he actually has Michigan ranked. We'll go with Wormley and say that Michigan adds one 3 star prospect to the commit list. [ed: It's worth noting that 247 and Scout both have Wormley in their top 100s.]
|Aaron Burbridge||Michigan||6'1", 175 lbs.||4|
|Dwayne Stanford||Ohio||6'5", 185 lbs.||4|
|Jordan Payton||California||6'2", 199 lbs.||4|
|Amara Darboh||Iowa||6'2", 190 lbs.||4|
|Jehu Chesson||Missouri||6'3", 182 lbs.||3|
There's likely three spots left in our scenario, so let's say the coaches will take two receivers from this group. There's a possibility that we could see other receivers earn offers if Michigan doesn't land anyone from this list. This group is a little tougher because Burbridge has grade issues. For our purposes though let's include Aaron Burbridge/ unnamed four star, and one other prospect.
Jehu Chesson, Jordan Payton, and Dwayne Stanford have shown the most interest from the rest of the group. I'll go on the conservative side here though and say Michigan lands a 3 star receiver. So we have one 4 star and one 3 star. It's too early to tell if that's likely, but like I said it's on the conservative side. The scenarios within this group are tough to predict.
|Bri'onte Dunn||Ohio||6'2", 215 lbs.||4|
|EJ Fatu||Texas||5'10", 235 lbs.||3|
|Juwan Lewis||Michigan||5'11", 208 lbs.||3|
|Sione Houma||Utah||6'0", 211 lbs.||2|
Given that we took two wide receivers we only have room for one from the running back position group. That was partially why I added a 4 star and a 3 star to the receivers, because the 3 star receiver could potentially be interchangeable with a fullback.
This is also a hard group to predict because of the uncertainty with Bri'onte Dunn. As I reported earlier in the week I don't think Dunn's recruitment is over. With Michigan landing Kyle Kalis that helps their chances. However, I'm going to go conservative again, and this time just take the average stars rating of 3. There's too many factors that could play into this and it's too hard to predict. I left Greg Garmon off this list because he still doesn't have Michigan as his leader even after a visit to Ann Arbor. He did tell me that he loves Michigan, but at this point I left him off. So Michigan adds a 3 star from this group.
The projected class above leaves Michigan with a total of 26 prospects. The new prospects that we've added to the list here are as follows:
- One 4 Star Offensive Lineman
- Two 4 Star Defensive Tackles
- One 3 Star Defensive End
- One 4 Star and One 3 Star Wide Receiver
- One 3 Star Running Back/Fullback
If you add these numbers to the current class, it looks something like this:
Just to reiterate, these projections are assuming there is no change in the current state of the recruiting world, there are no re-ranks, players don't move up or down, etc. We know that's not the case, so there is certainly a chance that a few Michigan commits could move up or down. Both Kyle Kalis and Erik Magnuson for example have been mentioned as potentially moving up to 5 stars. That would change things, but I can't predict if that happens.
In order to project a final ranking we'll have to look back at where previous teams were ranked after signing day that have similar classes to Michigan. For a somewhat realistic comparison I'll give a little leeway in the stars. I'll include classes that finished with one or two 5 stars and similar 4 stars, just to show a broad spectrum.
Here's what other teams have finished with star wise and where they ranked out according to Rivals:
|Year||Team||Total Commits||5 Stars||4 Stars||3 Stars||Rank|
It's important to note that these rankings aren't just factored in by star rankings. Rivals uses a number of different factors that includes class size and their individual scores as well. Again for simplicity will just compare classes off of somewhat similar size to Michigan's 2012 class and their star rankings.
As you can see from the chart the highest ranked classes that Michigan could potentially compare to are the 2011 Texas and 2009 Ohio state classes that were both ranked third. Texas had one 5 star and Ohio State had two, so in order for Michigan to get up to that type of ranking they would most likely need to either add a five star or have a few of their prospects reranked into that status. [Ed: if Kalis remains 18th he he will almost certainly grab a fifth star. Rivals averages around 35 per year and have only handed out half of those so far. Magnuson will also be on the cusp if he maintains his current status.] Another good comparison would be Tennessee's 2010 class which ranked number 9 overall. They have a similar number of total committed prospects and somewhat comparable number of stars.
Tennessee had an outstanding class in 2011 as well, ranked 13th overall. If nothing were to change then that's a pretty good comparison for the range that Michigan could be in. Since the Vols had around the same number of prospects committed with around the same number of 3 and 4 stars I'd be comfortable putting Michigan in that range. Since Michigan has two more 4 star prospects committed [in our hypothetical scenario] I would also feel safe moving them up to around the 10-11 range. That's based off of the assumption that Michigan does not add any five stars.
As of right now I would say that the class could finish out in the 7-13 range. If they get a little lucky with Dunn and some guys moving up when the class re-ranks (Ondre Pipkins seems due for a major surge) they'll crack the top five.
I hope this kind of analysis hasn't been done already; if so, my apologies. I was wondering, in light of Brian's analysis of the defense, if we could quantify the effect of having Mattison rather than GERG as our defensive coordinator. To that end, I have tried to quantify the effect of having Greg Robinson as defensive coordinator: the GERG effect. I looked up the scoring defense ranks of Michigan, Syracuse, and Texas for 2003-2010 (data from Rivals). They are as follows:
GERG was DC at Texas in 2004, HC at Syracuse in 2005-2008, and DC at Michigan in 2009-2010. We can therefore display the data graphically as follows (note that the Y axis is team defense scoring rank): We can also try to calculate a crude GERG effect by comparing the average rank of these defenses with and without GERG. This yields the following:
Note that positive is bad and negative is good. So GERG's Texas defense was 11 ranks better than the non-GERG average, whereas his Michigan defenses were 60 ranks worse than the non-GERG average.
To calculate the overall GERG effect, we simply multiple the differences in rank by the number of years at each school, divided by the total number of years (7), to arrive at our overall GERG effect of 29.77 [this figure has been updated]. That is, on average, GERG adversely affects the scoring rank of the defenses he is associated with by 30 positions.
If we take Brian's projection of Michigan's 2011 defense (82nd), and subtract 30 ranks to adjust for the GERG effect, we get to 52, a ranking that a number of commentators were predicting based on their "gut" feeling of player development and the new coaching staff's abilities (particularly Mattison).
Again, this is wild speculation, and incredibly simple -- hopefully it is not completely misguided. Other more advanced metrics should also be used. I am aware that there are far more variables at work that determine how good a defense is--and it is almost certain that GERG was not allowed to run his defense at Michigan. Also, it is likely that Mattison is an excellent DC, something that this analysis does not account for. I was still curious to see if anything could be done to account for the coaching change.
UPDATE: I made an arithmetical error which has been corrected. Also, I ran the same analysis with S&P+ play-by-play ratings from Football outsiders and got a GERG effect of 27.75 ranks (using only Syracuse and Michigan; S&P+ data are only available from 2005 and later).
[ed: We should be taking all of this, including my original post, with a grain of salt because of sample size issues.
That said, Michigan was an the extreme outlier because of its youth and trying to run two different schemes, one of which was something no one's ever tried before, and could expect to rebound further with Mattison--and more importantly, sanity--hanging around campus. The numbers offered here in the two posts (54 using S&P+ data and 82) seem like the ends of a range of reasonable expectations.
The moral of the story is the same one learned by the offenses of Notre Dame in 2008 and Michgian in 2009--you're going to be a lot better but still very far from good.]