LAST TIME: bitching about the fact that following five kids instead of fifty tends to make basketball recruiting langorous at best, endless repetition of the fact that Recruit X has not cut his 23-team list at worst. Picture of polin' down the Mississip'.
ACTION! (At least comparable to one of Ace's bi-weekly football updates.)
First, the bad news…
I thought we were bros Jerry Meyer said so
Happy trails to five-star PF Kevon Looney, who cut his list to six teams and did not include Michigan. : /
Also in Happy Trails:
- Rivals and 247 have both reported that Michigan has essentially parted ways with OH PF Vince Edwards, who's expected to commit to Purdue shortly.
- MO PF Jordan Barnett committed to Texas. Barnett didn't have an offer despite a Michigan visit. Even if he was a plan B, he might have moved up into the A range once Looney gave M the axe.
That is kind of a downer when it comes to stretch fours, but…
You call that a knife? I'm from Flint, sort of
Nevada-by-way-of-Australia-and-Flint stretch PF Jonah Bolden burst onto the scene recently, having just returned from the land of vicious dunking koala bears. As a 6'8" or 6'9" kid with excellent range he fits exactly the kind of hole Michigan was hoping Looney would fill.
He just showed up on the radar after an impressive showing at the Adidas Nations tournament:
Best prospects I've seen so far at Nations include Josh Jackson, Okafor, Stanley Johnson, Jonah Bolden, Malik Newman and Tyler Doesey
Findlay Prep is getting good one in Jonah Bolden. Face-up PF at 6-8 w/length that is finishing on break, hitting from 3, really passes well.
Believe I got asked about Australian Jonah Bolden the other day. 6-8 forward has a great looking shot and can move. Very intriguing.
At 6-foot-8, he can really shoot, he has great length and he runs the floor well. … little doubt that high majors will be interested.
Bolden can jump very well for such a tall, long player and his greatest asset is his outside shot. Very long arms allow him to be a difference maker inside defensively without the type of muscle he’ll need to add at the next level. Slithery and smooth in his ability to penetrate on the offensive end, Bolden has a very high skill level and terrific touch.
Bolden's dad is from Flint and played a year of high school ball with Glenn Rice before starring at Boise State in the mid-80s; Bolden reputedly grew up a Michigan fan as a result.
Bolden will play at Findley Prep (the same school that Michigan target and eventual OSU commit Amadeo Della Valle played at) for his senior season and enter college in 2014. Rivals seems to think he "prefers" M, and he did give this quote to Scout:
"My dad is from Michigan and I always liked the way they play, especially my position," Bolden said.
Despite growing up a Wolverines fan, Bolden said that he's completely wide open in his recruitment and isn't planning on making a decision until the spring.
"I'm not committing anywhere anytime soon," Bolden said. "I'll look at my positional availability; who is there before me. I also will look at academics."
Positional availability is going to be pretty dang good if GRIII is in the NBA draft, and he fits Michigan's style to a T. Thanks, Australia.
Michigan's interest in 2015 IN SG Jalen Coleman is sincere enough that he is one of a very few kids in that class to currently sport a Michigan offer. He's moving from Indianapolis to a prep school in northern Indiana, an area that has recently an absolute bounty for Michigan. He's looking to schedule a visit in the near future (first or second football game), and Kyle Bogenschutz reports that 1) they want to get recruiting over with, 2) Michigan is "at the top," and 3) there is a "great chance" he pops the next time he's on campus.
“It’s like a hungry dog going after a slab of meat,” Adams said. “He can put the ball in the basket.”
His comment on Michigan:
* On Michigan -- “I’m thankful. That’s a blessing to have an offer from a college team that advanced to the national championship and almost won it. I watched them the whole season and saw how they improved. I was happy for their success. I’ve been talking to Coach Jordan a lot and Coach Beilein has been texting my dad.”
Very good vibe from that compared to the things he says about the other schools.
List slicing ho!
CA SF/PF Kameron Chatman released a list of his five finalists: USC, Arizona, Michigan, Oregon, and UConn. Washington, once the perceived favorite, is a notable omission. Meanwhile, UConn was dropped at one point due to a lack of contact and unless USC's paying guys again he's not going to that tire fire, so this seems to be a duel between Oregon, the 247 Crystal Ball favorite, Michigan, and Arizona.
Supporting evidence: Chatman has scheduled officials to those three schools only, with Michigan getting their swing at UTLII.
IN SF Trevon Bluiett has sliced his list from 23 or so to seven. Michigan, Butler, and UCLA are thought to be the main contenders; Bluiett is also considering Indiana, Xavier, Arizona, and Purdue. Bluiett's dad told Scout that he thinks the list of seven is really about four and that Michigan is amongst them:
“Always have,” he said. “He’s always regarded Michigan pretty high and he loves the coaching staff, the style of play.”
Also in that article, Bogenschutz got a quote on Bluiett's impending official (scheduled for the CMU game on the 31st) that turned into a "Adidas: Bluiett to Visit U-M, Commit too?" headline. Judge for yourself:
“We got a tentative (visit) on the 31st of August, the first football game,” Bluiett’s father said. “We’re trying to make arrangements for that. I hear that’s an extravaganza.
“A lot of recruits don’t leave there uncommitted -- I heard,” he laughingly added.
Bogenschutz would later add($) that based on that interview and "conversations throughout the camp" that he "might be close" to pulling the trigger on his visit.
Bluiett has provided no timetable for a commit, FWIW. Brad Stevens's exit from Butler should give Michigan the advantage now, with official visits the best chance for other schools to catch up. Bluiett gave Brian Snow a breakdown of his finalists nad his quote on Michigan was encouraging:
I probably have the best relationship with that staff. Coach (John) Beilein lets his players go. He recruits players with high IQ’s, and they are able to get wins without him really over coaching them.
Butler's is also pretty encouraging for the Bulldogs, FWIW.
Booker still winding towards decision
Booker on Michigan:
“Well, Michigan’s been recruiting me since the eighth grade, so they have a special place in my heart I’d say because I’ve visited there seven times and my mom lives in Michigan still and she’d probably like me to stay closer to home and play,” Booker told SNY.tv. “I live in Mississippi but I’m there in Michigan for the summer.”
Zagsblog says it's a "safe bet" he'll land at M, MSU, Kentucky, Missouri, or Florida, but he hasn't officially cut his list.
Kentucky on Kennard
Snow on 2015 OH SG Luke Kennard:
“I would say UK is definitely a game-changer,” Snow stated. “I have always felt that if UK offered they would be very tough to beat and I have heard nothing to suggest otherwise. Now it isn't a done deal, but if UK continues to make him a priority I think they will be extremely tough to beat.”
Let's go Kentucky… in other recruitments of shooting guards. Not that that seems to slow them down at all.
Michigan's looking at 2014 four-star wing Josh Cunningham, presumably just in case. Add 2015 wing Tyler Williams to your offer candidates. 2015 Cleveland PF Carlton Bragg has buckets of talent. Watch him for a potential visit. If you've got Scout, highly recommend Bogenschutz's scouting of the various Michigan targets at Adidas Nations.
The answer is still no, and that's excuse enough to post this again.
More specifically, HANDOCALYPSE MID-NOVEMBER:
I will be committing on Nov 14 at my school. Can't wait to get this over with!
— Da'shawn Hand (@TheHand54) August 4, 2013
That, of course, is arguably the #1 overall prospect in the country, VA DE Da'Shawn Hand, who now has a decision date in mind — not coincidentally, his 18th birthday — with his field now narrowed down to his top three schools, per Rivals's Adam Friedman ($):
"I just decided that there is no need for all of this to get drawn out," Hand said. "I was interested in USC and LSU but I know a lot about Michigan, Alabama and Florida and I'm just going to let them be."
Lane Kiffin reacted to this news by drinking a six-pack of Mike's Hard Lemonade and tearfully sending Hand a slew of angry texts that all ended in "im so sorry plz come visit". Les Miles chewed on fieldturf — the rubber pellets really add texture — and contemplated the meaning of... fieldturf, probably.
Hand will officially visit Ann Arbor for the Notre Dame game; he has yet to set up officials to Alabama or Florida, though both he and his coach say those visits will happen as well.
Whether or not those officials happen, Michigan appears to be in very good position — especially since Alabama's marquee home game, against LSU, occurs just five days before Hand plans to announce his choice. Given that Hand seems like the type of recruit who's going to be very well-versed in each school before he makes a decision, I'd be surprised if he waited that long to make the trip to Tuscaloosa. It's also still possible, of course, that he's blown away at the Notre Dame game and never ends up taking those last two officials. We'll see — it's never safe to count out Nick Saban.
Michigan could also see Hand's 2015 five-star buddy, VA DT Tim Settle, on campus in the relatively near future, per 247's Michael Bohlin ($):
"I am supposed to be going to Michigan but I don't know when," replied Settle. "I will be going to UVa for the Oregon game, I want to go to the Virginia Tech vs Alabama game but that one is in Atlanta so we'll see. I am also planning on taking a visit to USC at some point."
I'd speculate that Settle would visit for the Notre Dame game, in order to be on campus with Hand, but that Virginia-Oregon game is slated for the same day. We'll see if he ends up making the trip, but at the very least there's another five-star considering Michigan, and that's never a bad thing.
[Hit THE JUMP for more recruiting news, including Michigan attempting to snake-oil a legacy recruit, Bruce Feldman on what it'll take to keep the momentum going, and more.]
— Bry Mac (@Bry_Mac) August 5, 2013
26 days until a Central Michigan safety discovers exactly what a "pyrrhic victory in run support" means. Presumably, BiSB will regret not using spellcheck much sooner than that.
[EDIT: As pointed out in the comments, the poor soul being steamrolled is not some random high school freshman, but 2013 3.5-star Virginia signee Malcolm Cook. Cook is listed at 6'1" (measurement presumably taken before the above) and 194 pounds. Lawd.]
Previously: CB Reon Dawson, CB Channing Stribling, S Delano Hill, S Dymonte Thomas, CB Ross Douglas, CB Jourdan Lewis, LB Ben Gedeon, LB Mike McCray, DE Taco Charlton,DT Maurice Hurst Jr., DT Henry Poggi, OL Patrick Kugler, OL David Dawson, OL Logan Tuley-Tillman, OL Kyle Bosch, OL Chris Fox, OL Dan Samuelson, TE Jake Butt, TE Khalid Hill, HB Wyatt Shallman, WR Da'Mario Jones, WR Csont'e York, WR Jaron Dukes.
|Richmond, VA – 6'0", 220|
|Scout||5*, #6 overall
#1 RB, #1 VA
|Rivals||5*, #8 overall
#1 RB, #1 VA
|ESPN||4*, #38 overall
#5 RB, #3 VA
|24/7||4*, #84 overall
#8 RB, #5 VA
|Other Suitors||Ohio State, Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, USC, Oklahoma, Miami, FSU, Oregon|
|Previously On MGoBlog||Hello post from Ace.|
If you watch only one play of this reel make it the run that starts at 10:20.
Army game (actual play starts at 1:30):
It's not that Derrick Green breaks arm tackles. It's that he doesn't notice them. Go ahead, watch the highlight reel. On the high school level, an arm tackle may as well be an invitation marked endzone, party of one. So, yeah, he's not that elusive, but he doesn't have to be, because he's elusive enough not to take a head on shot and anything short of that… no sale.
But don't take it from me, take it from everybody.
Brian Dohn, Scout: "Green is a durable, physical runner who doesn't have elite speed, but that really isn't needed to be success. Just think Emmitt Smith. … He is big, strong, accelerates well and has very good vision and balance. He is creative and he is difficult to bring down. He has quick feet, and his change of direction is very good. He can make subtle cuts and turn a 3-yard gain into an 8-yard gain in a flash."
Various Rivals Analysts: "You can't build a better-looking high school running back if you tried as Green already looks like he's in college." "Green is a bowling ball of a runner who is very strong North-South but has quick feet and good balance. Once he decides to hit a hole, and he is a decisive runner, he is a load to handle. It would have been nice to see some full contact because you could tell he would have shrugged off linebackers." "Green showed why he is the No. 1 running back in the country by hitting all the right holes, showing off great vision and flashing his trademark burst." "In practices and in the game, Green ran with toughness and speed, cut very well and showed he has the vision to make an early impact at the next level."
ESPN: "Green is a load and a strong, physically imposing runner ready to make the college jump…. Green is quick to get downhill and attack the hole and he gains momentum fast. … lacks fluidity through the hips as a lateral runner but shows sharp, subtle cutbacks and deceptive pick-and-slide ability at times. While he can sidestep and avoid tacklers, he is at his best when squared up and given a heavy dose of Iso and Power plays. … Displays very good power to break tackles. … drags tacklers and finishes runs falling forward. … likes contact. Has good speed for his size, but not a home run threat in college or a player who is going to make you miss with elusiveness."
247's Clint Brewster: "I compare Green to former Auburn tailback Ronnie Brown, who played under offensive coordinator Al Borges with the Tigers. Both Green and Brown are excellent catching the ball out of the backfield and are three-down running backs."
Green's combination of size, speed, and willingness to show out at camps saw him rise to the #1 RB spot on both Scout and Rivals; he wasn't far behind as a top 50 player and the #5 RB on ESPN, a decision that was apparently very narrow…
This is arguably the most talented running back class we have seen in recent memory. The discrepancy in talent from our top-rated back Kelvin Taylor to our fifth-rated back Derrick Green is minimal on film and from a grade standpoint.
…and while 247 is the resident skeptic they still rate him inside their top 100. And, like, compare him to a first-round NFL draft pick.
Yet more scouting reports say he's "a bowling ball style back with a low center of gravity" with "burst and explosiveness," a "powerful running back who can blow through arm tackles," a "downhill runner who is decisive finding and hitting the hole" with "deceptive quickness" and is "far from just a North-South power back." You get it.
The Green hype is to the point that FRED JACKSON, yes, that FRED JACKSON, can say things and your first inclination is not to LOL and rush to the Fred Jackson Hyperbole Tracker but rather to pull out a bubble pipe, put on a tweed jacket, and disclaim "indeed, verily":
“He’s the same type of guy as a Yeldon or a Lacy or an Ingram. He’s the same kind of guy, like those guys are. It’s just matter of everything working for you.“
“Derrick can roll for a big man, now. He had been clocked at 4.4 and 220 pounds. That’s pretty good. … I don’t want to compare him to anybody. I think he is different than Anthony Thomas. But he is built more like Chris Perry. His style reminds me of Anthony’s."
I… I just agree. I don't have snark about this. Fred Jackson, I agree. Fred Jackson, this is the sort of back who would hang out at Alabama, eating tackles for lunch and grinding out five yards on third and two. Yes.
Other comparisons on offer are LeVeon Bell…
While both are big, strong and proven load backs, the similarity that really strikes you when watching them both is their ability to withstand the first hit and keep downhill momentum. Both of these backs have very good balance, and while they can break initial contact with power through the hole, they also have enough agility and quickness to spin and slip their way out of tackles through tight seams.
…and Marshawn Lynch:
"Both are explosive and violent runners, so it is an easy comparison to make. What I think makes them so similar is the physicality in the hole and getting into the next level. Neither guy is really looking to shake tacklers rather than hitting them with a stiff arm or just straight running over them. It is a mean streak and an angry approach to carrying the football, and they both have it." -- Adam Friedman, Rivals.com Northeast analyst.
- So pick a large, mean future first- or second-round draft pick.
- Now, there is some disagreement on certain points. Some people think he has near-breakaway speed, some not so much. Some people think he's great out of the backfield, others not so much. But no one disagrees that this person is essentially two years into college, physically…
Green looks like a college freshman or sophomore running back already [ED: 2011, ie, before his junior year of high school] with a tremendous build and very powerful legs. He is built like a bowling ball and is simply a ball of muscle that explodes and gains speed after his first few strides. What was most surprising however was his ability to catch the ball with soft hands.
"Green looks physically like a college junior," Farrell said. "If you put him in any college uniform right now and told someone who had never seen him that he was a 1,500-yard rusher, they wouldn't blink an eye. Plus he's shown the ability to block and catch passes now, so he's gone from a two-down back to an every-down guy. He's the most physically impressive running back we've seen in awhile."
- …and ready to go. Right now.
If you put him in a Wisconsin uniform and helmet, you'd think he was a college senior coming off a 2,000-yard season. His legs are beyond strong and thick and he looks like a human bowling ball, ready to knock down pin after pin heading to the end zone.
The one minor note of disagreement comes from a review of the Opening from Scout, which worried that Green might turn into a fullback if he's not careful:
1. Derrick Green – There were some mixed reviews on Green among the staff. He is strikingly thick for a high school running back which can worry you some as to how he develops and projects but even at that size, he has outstanding feet. Because he is so quick with his cuts and so decisive, he has the skill set to really complement his size well.
That is rather positive for a negative take, since the 1 by his name signifies he was the best tailback at the first day of that camp. But it is a point to consider.
Sort of. Green entered high school with the opposite problem that most kids have: he needed to lose weight. That he's here is testament to his desire. He was actually a 268-pound freshman(!) who was told to play on the line because obviously but wanted to play tailback, so he dropped weight and dropped weight until he became the guy he is today, like Michelangelo carving David out of himself. Is that comparison overblown? Ask me in four years. (Ok, probably, shut up.)
But here is that pattern again, both in the work and the kind of person that Michigan is adding to the program.
Sam Webb: So you clearly know him better than most people here, most of the media. What should people know about Derrick Green that isn’t immediately obvious just by walking in and seeing him?
Domonique Hargrove: “One thing you have to know about him is, man, he definitely is a man of character, and he definitely keeps God first. … that’s what he kept saying, ‘I’m going to keep God first, he’s going to be one – Jesus is going to be the one to help me get to the top’, and hey, the proof is in the pudding, look at him here today, all his supporters, I love him, I love his mom and his dad, and I’m proud of him.”
Etc.: Star RB: OSU Will Always Be No. 1. Nope. Excellent profile article from 247 that's free. FWIW, Green ran a 4.56 forty to win a Fastest Man award as an underclassman despite being 230 at the time.
Why Beanie Wells? Yeldon and Lacy and This Year's Bama Back are also good comparisons but in terms of guys Michigan fans have seen an awful lot of, Wells is the best comparison available. He's a bit taller but about as heavy, was also the #1-ish tailback in his class, and combined enormous muscled pounding with quick feet and enough speed to make people pay for missed tackles.
After a debut season in which he split carries with Antonio Pittman, he took over the main job for his final two years, then bolted towards the tail end of the first round of the NFL draft. He averaged just under 6.0 YPC his two seasons as the starter. I mean:
Extraordinary combination of size and natural running ability. Downhill runner who attacks the line of scrimmage when running inside. Shows the patience to pick and slide laterally. Good burst to and through the hole. … Rare size and leg drive to move the pile. Rare vision and lateral quickness for a back of his size. Anticipates the cutback lanes before they appear and capitalizes on them. Surprising acceleration to break through the first wave of the defense and get to the second level. Brutal stiff-arm when in the open field to bat away defenders attempting to drag him down. Despite his size, shows good breakaway speed.
Hello, MY NAME IS Derrick Green.
BONUS: Wells was reputedly a Michigan fan growing up; Green was reputedly an OSU fan growing up.
Guru Reliability: Exacting. All the camps, All Star, heavily scouted top end prospect.
Variance: Low. Already college size, playing position, exacting guru reliability.
Ceiling: Vast. First round type back.
General Excitement Level: BOOM. Brady Hoke can't recruit skill positions, don't you know.
Projection: Beanie Wells comparisons don't stop at the talent's edge. Green, too, should split carries with a quality senior option as a senior before emerging into the starter for a two-year run that's appealing enough to the NFL that they snatch him up as soon as he's eligible.
This edition of the recruiting rankings features a change at the top of the board — one you probably won't like, obviously — as well as the debut of the NOTY Power Rankings, because players named J-Shun and Geronimo committed to Big Ten schools this month and this clearly requires action.
Changes since last rankings:
7-5-13: Jason Hall decommits from Nebraska (later commits to Texas). Nebraska picks up Larenzo Stewart.
7-8-13: Wisconsin picks up D.J. Gillins. Iowa picks up Mick Ellis. Purdue picks up Gelen Robinson.
7-9-13: Northwestern picks up Robert Westerfield. Illinois picks up Julian Hylton.
7-10-13: Indiana picks up J-Shun Harris.
7-15-13: Michigan State picks up Matt Morrissey.
7-16-13: Iowa picks up Terrence Harris.
7-19-13: Indiana picks up Nick Carovillano and Jermane Conyers.
7-20-13: Iowa picks up Ben Niemann. Minnesota picks up Andrew Stelter.
7-23-13: Purdue picks up Drue Tranquill.
7-24-13: Illinois picks up Tyrin Stone-Davis.
7-25-13: Illinois picks up Tyree Stone-Davis and Geronimo Allison.
7-28-13: Ohio State picks up Demetrious Knox.
7-29-13: Ohio State picks up Malik Hooker.
8-3-13: Michigan State picks up Robert Bowers.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|247 Comp. Rank* (Nat'l Rank)||School||# Commits||5*||4*||3*||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||247 Avg||ESPN Avg||Avg Avg^|
|1 (6) ↑1||Ohio State||16||0||10||6||3.38||3.63||3.79||3.65||3.61|
|2 (10) ↓1||Michigan||14||1||7||6||3.50||3.57||3.57||3.79||3.61|
|4 (24)||Penn State||13||0||4||9||3.23||3.31||3.31||3.38||3.31|
|5 (29)||Michigan State||14||0||0||14||3.07||3.14||3.36||3.21||3.20|
|8 (43) ↑1||Iowa||12||0||1||8||2.83||2.83||2.92||2.83||2.85|
|9 (49) ↓1||Nebraska||11||0||0||10||2.82||2.55||3.00||3.18||2.89|
|11 (69) ↑2||Indiana||10||0||0||7||2.50||2.50||2.60||2.80||2.60|
|12 (70) ↑2||Purdue||8||0||0||6||2.63||2.88||2.75||2.88||2.78|
|13 (76) ↓1||Minnesota||6||0||1||5||3.00||3.33||3.17||2.67||3.04|
|14 (79) ↓3||Maryland||8||0||0||6||2.75||2.50||2.75||3.00||2.75|
*Full rankings and explanation here.
^The average of the average rankings of the four recruiting services (the previous four columns). The figure is calculated based on the raw numbers and then rounded, so the numbers above may not average out exactly.
NOTE: Unranked recruits are counted as two-star players.
On to the full data after the jump.
If nowhere else in the world, it is a well-established tenant on MGoBlog that forcing fumbles are mostly random and recovering them is almost more random. Historically, when I am evaluating an offense or a defense I exclude all fumble plays. They are huge swings in value for a game or player with very little correlation to the overall quality of the player or team. Some of what I found has caused to me reconsider the inclusion of certain fumble plays.
To look at how different types of plays contributed to fumble totals, I broke down the rate of lost fumbles (blue bar, left axis) and the odds of the defense recovering a fumble (yellow line, right axis) for six types of plays. Looking at over 700,000 plays from the last ten years, here is what I found.
Excluding sacks and punt returns, all other play types generate a lost fumble about 1% of the time. Punt returns are lost a little over 1 in 50 plays and sacks are the big defensive opportunity with 1 in 9 sacks causing a fumble and about 1 in 17 resulting in a turnover for the defense. What else is interesting is that the further you get away from the line of scrimmage, the more likely the defense is to recover a fumble. Completions and positive rushing plays are at the low end for lost fumbles but at the high end for defensive recoveries. As a defense, if you can generate fumbles down the field, there is a good chance for a turnover.
Based on this data, going forward I will be including plays where the defense recovers a fumble after a sack in my evaluations for team defense and offenses. Because of their increased incidence I felt like the generation of the swing play through a quality defensive play like a sack didn’t warrant the exclusion. All other plays where a fumble is lost will continue to be excluded as more luck than skill.
Keeping the Ball in the Offense’s Hands
For offenses crossing the line of scrimmage is about the best thing you can do to reduce your odds of losing the ball. In the above chart completions and rushes for positive yardage both generated the lowest total rate of lost fumbles. I broke those rushing plays down to see which position was the biggest culprit.
After crossing the line of scrimmage, quarterbacks are the most likely to lose a fumble on a running play. Fullbacks and running backs both fumble the ball on 1% of their positive rushes but fullbacks are specially trained fumble recovery machines as there is more than a 10 percentage point gap between the defense’s ability to recover a running back’s fumble as opposed to a fullback’s fumble.
The offset of this data is even more striking. Here is what fumble rates look like for running plays (not sacks) that never make it back to the line of scrimmage.
The data here is clearly overrun with bad snaps and failed handoffs. Quarterbacks lose a fumble on 1 in 15 non-sack rushing plays attributed to them behind the line of scrimmage. Running back and wide receiver rates are also much higher than on other plays.
A 7% fumble rate but a 35% defensive recovery means that quarterbacks are given responsibility for a fumble on more than 1 in 5 plays that don’t cross the line of scrimmage. Wide receiver rushes also have a better than average chance of recovering their own fumbles behind the line of scrimmage.
I looked at these behind the line of scrimmage numbers and ran them against whether a defensive player was credited for the forced fumble. On runs crossing the line of scrimmage a defensive player is credited with a forced fumble 80% of the time and that number is relatively consistent across all positions.
If you adjust the behind the line of scrimmage to say try and account for the non-forced fumbles (take the forced fumble numbers and assume they represent 80% of the total) the loss rates behind the line of scrimmage drop considerably. The rates are still higher than post line of scrimmage plays. QBs fall to 2.6%, WRs to 2.2% and RBs at 1.4%. When the fumble is forced by the defense behind the line of scrimmage, defenses recover nearly 70% of fumbles by backs and receivers but barely 50% of quarterbacks. In fact, of all forced fumbles on scrimmage plays, wide receivers and running backs lose the fumble 68% of the time, where quarterbacks only lose the ball 61% of the time. Not sure exactly what that is from but it’s a pretty stark difference and with thousands of plays for both running backs and quarterbacks, one relatively immune from sample size concerns.
Up All Night to Get Flucky*
Based on these numbers a couple things stood out to me:
- Sacks produce fumble at an obscene rate compared to any other play
- Don’t skimp on the fundamentals, poor snaps and hand-offs are a major source of fumbles
- Positive plays are good for the offense, getting past the line of scrimmage greatly reduces the chance that a fumble occurs, but increases the defense’s chances at a recovery if one is forced
- Hitting ball carriers behind the line of scrimmage is a good way for a defense to generate fumbles
- HOLD ON TO THE DAMN BALL! Punt returns are the most likely play to result in a lost fumble.
- Not all fumbles are created equally, defenses recover nearly 70% of fumbles that are forced and only 45% when they are not.
- Quarterbacks are fumble prone but their teams are better at recovering them than other players’ fumbles
*Sorry, my kid has been singing this song for weeks now, I had to work it in to this article somehow.