things go poorly
Brady Hoke has made it clear that the state of Ohio will be one of the main areas of focus [Ed-M: linked to DD on Ohio] for recruiting going forward. He proved that point early on by offering most of the top ranked prospects in the state to the south, including defensive end Adolphus Washington. The Taft High standout spoke with me today about Michigan and where he's at in the process. Here's a look at his film and what he had to say.
TOM: I know it's still early, but you already have a good amount of offers in hand, do you have any visits planned right now? What's next for you?
ADOLPHUS: I don't have any visits planned yet, but I'll probably start taking some in a couple weeks. I haven't really had time because of basketball, so once that's over I will.
TOM: Where have you taken visits so far?
ADOLPHUS: Just Ohio State and Kentucky, I think that's it.
TOM: You said you don't have any visits planned, but do you have an idea of what schools you want to see?
ADOLPHUS: I want to see the Midwest schools like Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, Kentucky. I can't go too far obviously, so just the local ones. Ohio State and Michigan will be my first two visits.
TOM: Since you haven't seen most of these schools yet, how are you evaluating them or analyzing them?
ADOLPHUS: When I'm at school I look up their rosters to see who they have coming back and who's redshirting. I kind of look at defensive end more, some schools want me to play outside linebacker, defensive end type role. Michigan has said just defensive end.
TOM: I'm sure the coaches are probably all saying something similar about their schools, but what has Michigan been telling you so far?
ADOLPHUS: Michigan, they think highly of a lot of guys here. They say they need Ohio guys to build their program. I mainly talk to Coach Smith and Coach Mattison sometimes too.
TOM: It's early, but do you feel comfortable talking to them? Do you feel like you're establishing a good relationship with them?
ADOLPHUS: I've established a real good relationship with them. Our AD at Taft used to play for Coach Smith at Indiana State so I trust him because of that.
TOM: I know you and your teammate WR Dwayne Stanford have said you want to play together in college, is that 100%?
ADOLPHUS: We're kind of looking at everything together, we like the same thing in schools. Our majors will be different, but yeah we're 100% going to school together.
TOM: I know that there's a lot of talk about you guys being Ohio State leans, and really liking Ohio State. Are you open to listen to other schools, or are you guys set on Ohio State?
ADOLPHUS: We're open to everybody. We like Ohio State because we grew up fans of Ohio State, but we're giving everyone a chance. Michigan is recruiting me very hard. A lot of people say that I'm an Ohio State lean, but Michigan is still recruiting me hard and I like that. That says a lot about them that they're still coming after me like that. Their program was down last year but I think they're an up and coming program and they'll be back.
TOM: When you start to take visits what are you going to be looking for when your on campus?
ADOLPHUS: When I go to a school I'm going to be looking for how I fit in with everybody else, how do they treat the players and everybody else on campus. Are the players segregated from everybody, or is everyone together. I want everyone to be treated equally with the players, I don't want it to be separate.
TOM: Do you have any preference for scheme?
ADOLPHUS: I can play in any scheme.
TOM: Fair enough. With that being said what do you think are your strengths and weaknesses, and what's your height and weight right now?
ADOLPHUS: I'm 6-foot-4, 258-pounds right now. I think my strengths are rushing the quarterback and being the first to the quarterback. I think I need to learn how to use my hands more, to use my hands better. That's something that I work on.
TOM: Do you know when you're going to make your final decision?
ADOLPHUS: I'm going to make my decision at the Under Armour All American game.
Previously: CB Greg Brown.
|Pickerington, OH - 6'0" 175|
||Scout||3*, #103 CB|
|Rivals||3*, NR, #60 OH|
|ESPN||2*, 74, #154 ATH|
|Other Suitors||Minnesota, Iowa, Stanford, Arizona|
|Previously On MGoBlog||Commitment post.|
|Notes||Yes, that Pickerington: Went to school with an accursed Boren. Central's entire secondary went D-I.|
There are also junior highlights.
When Tamani Carter committed out of nowhere in late January Michigan fans scrambled to find out who the hell he was. The answer, oddly: a guy who had committed to Minnesota less than two weeks before. It's not hard to envision Hoke and company arriving at Michigan, surveying their secondary, and going "oh shiiiiiiiiii." Carter looked like a vaguely plausible guy so plunk went the offer gun.
But despite an extremely plausible story—and the fact that he signed up to play for Minnesota's perpetually beleaguered secondary—that implies Carter is just a random guy destined for special teams duty, he did have a decent offer list. Arizona was after him so hard they're still breathless about their not-very-narrow miss months later (they "made a huge run at him"). He made multiple visits to Stanford and seemingly had an Iowa offer. Those three schools seemed to constitute a top three through his senior season. Snagging a kid away from those three and Minnesota is considerably more encouraging than "best case: Gopher starter."
Of course, you're very cynical so you're asking yourself why on earth anyone with those offers would end up at Minnesota. While he did have an offer from the Hawkeyes at some point, he went from planning an official to Iowa City($) in October to not taking an officials other than one to Arizona, so it seems likely Iowa withdrew that sometime during the middle of the season. The same presumably goes for Stanford. So he wasn't an enormous priority for either. When you're adrift in a post-Process January, though, anyone who could play at Iowa or Harbaugh-era Stanford starts looking pretty good.
This goes double when he is actually a terminator sent from the future with an audacious mission:
"Make all interceptions. Recover all fumbles," explained Carter.
Scouting type stuff. Carter's consistently listed at 6'0" or—at worst 5'11"—so it's odd that his size is consistently criticized. If he's fibbing surely he's not fibbing any more extensively than the vast populace of "5'9"" corners littering rosters across college football. Despite that a scouting article at… um… Scout published after Carter's Michigan commit features three separate guys worrying about it($). Allen Trieu:
My one knock would be size, and he's not very tall or thick at all. He will need time in the weight room before he's able to cover bigger, physical wide receivers.
First off, he's not very tall, but he's a nice, little athlete. It seems a little surprising for Michigan to go after him, because I would think they would be going after bigger defensive backs. He is a good player, and has skills, and the only real question would be his height. He's under 6-foot tall, and that will always be a challenge, covering the taller wideouts.
Assuming he overcomes his height limitations, and there are players that can do that, his speed and athleticism will get him on the field at Michigan, along with his intelligence.
ESPN($), meanwhile isn't too worried about height, but the other bit:
Has more than adequate height but his leaner frame and lack of great strength are concerns when projecting for the college level.
I was going to point out how weird Berk's assertion that Michigan wouldn't recruit Carter because of his size was by pointing to Michigan's roster, but it turns out that roster has dispensed with any pretense of reality by listing both Courtney Avery and Terrance Talbott at 5'11", which I'll eat my hat. Greg Brown is a mere 5'10", so he's probably just suffered a horrendous accident that leaves him without knees.
The point of all this is you will never get a truthful answer about any corner's height and if Carter can plausibly (or even laughably) claim to be six foot that makes him bigger than most of the guys already on the roster and probably as big as anyone else in the recruiting class.
So if Carter was crazy athletic that might not be a problem. That's up for debate. All the Scout guys were impressed ("light on his feet and has great quickness," "possibly sub 4.5," "moves really well"), but ESPN not so much:
Turns into a receiver in one-on-one coverage demonstrating great ball skills and body control. Has good extension, timing and leaping skills making him a very effective defender on the jump-ball. While fluid with good footwork, we do feel like he will be challenged in man-to-man coverage at the major college level. Appears quicker than fast and lacks great explosiveness and top-end speed needed to recover vertically. … Does not show great vertical speed or an extra though to project as a true difference-maker at the major college level.
Touch The Banner gives him an all-around "eh… okay": decent size, decent speed, nothing stands out.
FWIW, his coach echoes some other compliments about Carter's knack for big plays:
"Tamani had a very special season," said Central coach Jay Sharrett to ThisWeek last fall. "When we needed a pivotal play, he was always there for us. Whether we needed a big reception, interception or fumble recovery. Tamani was the guy who made plays that won games for us."
He also praises Carter's willingness to get in the opponent's face:
"He's a corner that doesn't, he kind of enjoys the physical part of the game," Sharrett said. "He's a good, solid tackler and when it comes time to drive his shoulder pads, he'll do that.
Whether he'll have the athleticism to pull that off in college is a question. TTB mentions he'd like Carter more if he was going to be "playing a Cover 2 defense and sitting in the flat most of the day." It might not matter since a quick glance of at the roster shows someone has to move to safety. Greg Brown didn't and it doesn't seem like the other freshmen are suited to it, so Carter is the obvious candidate.
Etc.: Carter's got his own website. Photo gallery from Central's playoff loss to Davidson, DE commit Keith Heitzman's school. Five INTs as a junior. Interview after his Herbstreit Classic game; 95-yard INT return included (unfortunately, INT went right to him). Gallery. Stats: 43 tackles, six PBUs, 3 INTs, and 21 catches on offense. Carter on his decision to decommit.
Why Markus Curry? Not a great comparison because Michigan hasn't recruited a whole lot of guys like Carter in the past, but Curry was a bit shorter than six foot, not heavily recruited, and seriously vulnerable to the deep ball because he didn't quite have the athleticism to keep up with college wideouts.
Guru Reliability: No reason evaluators would have anything wrong here: he was healthy and playing at a heavily scouted school. High.
General Excitement Level: The usual level of disclaimer applies but: low.
Projection: More of a lock to redshirt than anyone other than Russell Bellomy. There are three other corners in the class, all either more hyped or ahead of the curve after enrolling early, and three or four corners already on campus who will probably be ahead of him on the depth chart. Long term, someone's moving to safety and it's probably not Countess or Hollowell—the bet here is he moves to FS soon after arrival and ends up backing up Carvin Johnson for a while, possibly emerging as an upperclassman.
Previously: none this year, but this is an annual series. Check out last year's.
|Fremont, OH - 5'10" 180|
|Scout||3*, #50 CB|
|Rivals||3*, NR, #54 OH|
|ESPN||3*, 77, #35 CB|
|Other Suitors||Michigan State|
|Previously On MGoBlog||Commitment post. FNL video and scouting.|
|Notes||Early enrollee. Same HS as one Charles Woodson.|
(Brown stuff at the two minute mark.) Scouting Ohio has junior film.
Greg Brown committed to Michigan a long, long time ago. This site's "Hello" post dates back to September of 2009, mere days after new Hurricane Tate Forcier had made his debut at Michigan. At the time we had little to go on except Jim Stefani's comprehensive database ("very quick, speedy, athletic, great body control, fine ball skills and has fluid hips… impressive at the 2008 Michigan summer camp and was rated by some onlookers as the second best CB at the camp as a mere freshman") and some message board post wherein Brown is declared Fremont's "next big professional athlete" by someone who is probably not an NFL scout. The mere fact he had a committable Michigan offer—and reported another one from Michigan State—before his junior year even started was the most powerful evidence we had at the time that he was going to be some variety of Big Time.
It didn't really work out like that. He never even looked like emerging from the Pit of Generic Three Stars, spent most of his senior year playing linebacker, and seemed like yet another questionable move by Rich Rodriguez when it came to defensive recruiting. Rivals doesn't even bother to rank him outside of "you'll get three stars and like it." When he had a brief flirtation with Syracuse at the tail end of 2010 that seemed like a development that would inevitably lead to Brown and Michigan parting ways like various other "whoops, you committed" players(e.g., Dewayne Peace, Jordan Barnes) had under Rodriguez.
He stuck, though, and was the only member of this recruiting class to enroll early. No one expected much from him, but there he was in the spring game…
…giving up a touchdown, sure. But giving up a touchdown that seemed like offensive pass interference after being close enough to be shoved by the wide receiver. I don't have to remind Michigan fans about what happened last year and how being in the same timezone as a wide receiver is an improvement.
This would be a hilarious reach but for Brown getting consistent praise in the spring. It's still a bit of a stretch but three things make a trend, right? (1) Hoke after spring:
"He has improved every week," Hoke said of Brown, from Fremont (Ohio) Ross. "I think he's got a great future. Sometimes when there's an opportunity and a guy comes in there and competes, he might just win (the job).
(2) Hoke two weeks earlier:
Freshmen contributing this fall: "Really haven't thought about it much yet." Depth concern at OL and DL might provide some opportunities, but it's too early to say. Corner? "Maybe. We'll see. Greg Brown's really, in the last week and a half he's really stepped up." Courtney Avery has stepped up as well.
(3) Craig Ross was also pleasantly surprised:
In a huge surprise to me, I saw some really good play from Greg Brown—at corner—in the last Saturday scrimmage [ed: ie, the Saturday before the spring game]. This was mentioned by the coaches, so it is not a secret or my insanity.
That sort of praise did not pop up about the departed Cullen Christian, for one. So it means something. How much it means is something we'll have to wait four years to find out, but at the very least it suggests Brown has a chance to be someone other than Darnell Hood.
As for what kind of player he is, the scouting reports read like the opposite of the ones we got for Avery and Talbott last year. Those praised the kids' athleticism and worried about their smurfiness; Brown's think he's got good enough size but don't know about those hips. ESPN($):
Has average height with good overall body length; should continue to fill out well. Plays bigger and taller on film than listed measurables. A bit high and rigid in pedal and opening and turning but uses his hands well and can stick to receivers in man-to-man without giving up much separation. Looks to be a better zone and underneath corner. Closes with above average speed and quickness. Displays more-than-adequate change-of-direction skill and overall footwork. … Very effective in deep coverage as well and defends the jump-ball well with his good leaping and high-point skills. Comfortable around the football and his polished receiving skills show. However, we do question his transitional skills and ability to flip his hips fluidly when matched up versus fast major college wideouts; not real explosive as a runner and speed could get challenged vertically as well.
When Tim covered the playoff game between Brown and OL commit Jack Miller he found Brown playing linebacker(!):
He's a bit stocky, and played exclusively outside linebacker on defense for Fremont Ross. Even at a position closer to the ball, he rarely seemed to be in on any plays, despite having a chance on some of them. As a linebacker, he only covered tight ends from the slot in pass coverage and did an adequate job staying with a guy half a foot taller than him. … His speed wasn't that impressive.
Those reports are in opposition Allen Trieu's, but Trieu caught him right at the start of his junior year—Tim saw him in his last HS game. Trieu($):
The report I had read coming into the game was that he did not have great timed speed, but watching him, I saw that he played fast. He also plays with a lot of aggressiveness and attitude and that showed in run support. He isn't afraid to come up and make tackles. He isn't a particularly powerful tackler, but he went low and got the job done. As a receiver and return man, he showed his quickness and open field elusiveness.
Areas for Improvement: Brown plays bigger than his size, but he is undersized.More Trieu($):
FWIW, local Ohio observers had a slightly higher opinion than Tim or the rankings at large. Ohio Varsity made him the #5 DB in the state, ahead of OSU commit and high three-star Dejuan Gambrell.
Why Grant Mason? Mason was around 5'11" and was not athletic enough to get an NFL sniff, but he was a useful piece as an upperclassman after his transfer from Stanford and started as a senior. Like Mason, Brown is a good student (3.5 GPA) and projects as a guy to develop in the hopes he ends up a useful piece behind a star.
Guru Reliability: You'd think high since he's been fairly high profile—evaluators had two years of games to check him out in the full knowledge he was a Michigan commit. The spring stuff might bring that into question.
General Excitement Level: If you asked me on Signing Day I was going to politely suggest that not everyone can be a starter and Brown was probably going to be Darnell Hood, but one spring ball later Brown looks like a viable threat to crack the two deep and is 50-50 to be a starter at some point. A bit below moderate, then.
Projection: also 50-50 to redshirt. Michigan's starters should be Woolfolk and Avery and they are apparently going with Thomas Gordon, not a corner, as a dedicated nickelback. So it's JT Floyd, Terrance Talbott, and the three freshmen competing to be the two guys who rotate in. I'm guessing only one freshman plays—Brown may not have the hype but he showed up early.
As far as the future goes, he'll be in a war to replace Woolfolk next year. He probably loses that to someone, at which point he'll have to wait for Avery to graduate before he gets a shot.
RIP Jim Mandich. Jim Mandich passed away last night. As with Vada Murray I don't have any of my own memories about Mandich, so I'll just offer condolences to all who do. MVictors republished a post containing a Sam and Ira interview of Mandich from a couple years ago.
An eagle-eyed poster on the board noted that TE Brandon Moore just tweeted he'll be switching from 88 to 89 this fall. While that's just because he's playing special teams with Roh, if they could get Mike Jones to switch away from 27 they might be able to do something with those jerseys this fall.
The resounding chorus. Everywhere you turn these days there's a guy flogging NBA draft analysis telling Darius Morris to GTFO of the draft. Mike Rothstein flags down anonymous scouts:
“If somebody is in good academic standing and still needs to improve his game, which I think he is in both of those categories, then it only makes sense to come out if you’re going to be in the first round.
“And I don’t think he would be.”
So does Luke Winn:
"I can't see him getting picked in the first round," one scout said. "He has a good feel, especially in transition, but there are still some issues with shooting [25.0 percent on threes] and athleticism that leave a lot to be desired."
And Chad Ford($):
Morris is on the first-round bubble. Most scouts believe he should return to Michigan for at least one more year.
Despite that, the vibe out there is Morris will enter the draft anyway, thus thoroughly depressing everyone. Ford does say he's "very much on the fence," for what it's worth. The deadline to withdraw is May 8th.
The definition of gamut. Ohio State fans have spent the last few days reacting to the widespread reaction to the NCAA's Notice of Allegations. Responses include:
- Hey, wait a minute, nothing happened and everyone still talking about how terrible we are. Yes. This is something to get used to. It's going to happen at least twice more before anything is resolved. To be fair to the general alarm sent up earlier this week, the NOA came out at the same time the Dispatch's news side got FOIAs back that revealed a more extensive correspondence about the Cicero emails—we did learn some new stuff, and it was not new stuff helpful to Tressel or OSU.
- Everyone does it. "In Big-Time College Football Nobody Is Innocent." This may be true. Michigan fans certainly said it during the Jihad, but in that case we had a lot of anonymous and non-anonymous coaches saying the same thing. Here not so much. Certainly there are degrees of innocence and Tressel appears to have lost all of them.
- NA NA NA NA NA CAN'T HEAR YOU. "Jim Tressel Is Safe and Bruce Feldman Is Wrong" about Jim Tressel not being safe.
- Heads should roll. "Jim Tressel should resign or be fired." Self explanatory. Author does not get crucified in the comments.
Meanwhile, an Eleven Warriors poll showed OSU fans split right down the middle:
One of those ESPN polls that people drag out when Idaho stands alone shows only Ohio believes Tressel should be retained but it's close: 60-40 in favor. This is kind of like when Michigan fans were 33% fire RR, 33% keep RR, 33% don't know. It's not a fun spot. This is fine by me—OSU fans have had vastly more than their fair share of fun since Tressel showed up.
The comfy chair. MVictors has his season ticket renewals in hand and relates you can now rent your seat cushion if you are fed up with the onerous task of carrying it into the stadium:
Just 32 dollars. Greg frets about what this will do the aesthetics of the empty stadium. I'm not sure it's a big deal but it will be awkward if people in the seats painted yellow hit these up. Maybe they have an inverted version for those?
I won't be partaking because the last three OSU games have featured our section not just standing but standing on the benches for the first quarter or so. That may be comfy but it's probably not great to stand on.
Further adventures in eking out marginal revenue. The Big Ten is considering changing their game times to noon, 3:30, and 7. If those seem like the current game times, they are, but that's like this "central" time zone thing:
If you're one of those Big Ten football fans who despised the frequent 11 a.m. starting times for games, take heart. They might be a thing of the past.
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany reportedly is lobbying hard in negotiations with the television networks to do away with them. If Delany has his way, all Big Ten games next season will start at either noon, 3:30 p.m. or 7 p.m.
Big Ten noon games are now mostly in the hands of the BTN but it's hard to imagine ABC/ESPN moving their traditional 3:30 afternoon game to 4:30 just because some Iowans want to get drunk. Also this only furthers the conspiracy against fans who would like to see something, anything other than their game before the night games start. Also also that makes 4:30/7 games freakin' cold.
If the BTN wants to show games in the central time zone at 1 the only thing stopping them is their contract with ESPN, so fine. These days the average number of CST Big Ten 11 AM starts that show up anywhere else seems very small. I'm not sure why they have to mess with everyone else's start times to do that.
Etc.: Herbstreit bombs OSU. Spielman is less mean but clearly thinks this is srs. Herbstreit has been excommunicated. DocSat assesses the potential damage. PSU fans wonder how OSU evaded a "lack of institutional control" charge when one of the examples is "The institution fails to make clear that any individual involved in its intercollegiate athletics program has a duty to report any perceived violations of NCAA rules and can do so without fear of reprisals of any kind." Sports By Brooks rounds up additional funny stuff.
You can find the 2012 offer board here.
AJ Williams and Devin Funchess Go Blue
Brady Hoke's coaching staff seems to only accept a commitment if they're able to get another commitment at the same position within a couple days (or minutes). This time, it's a pair of tight ends as Devin Funchess and AJ Williams committed back-to-back last week.
Funchess talks about how he turned into a bigtime football prospect:
"I started caring more. I used to just be out there lackadaisical. I started caring more, got bigger in the weight room and started to get better." ... "Devin has always had great potential, but the maturity between his sophomore and junior year was really amazing," [Harrison coach John] Herrington said.
Go Blue Michigan Wolverine breaks down Devin's abilities:
He runs very well for a player his size. Devin also jumps well and times his jump well catching the ball at its highest point. As pointed out, Devin uses his size and athletic ability to make difficult catches. With his length and long arms, he makes an excellent red zone target. Devin has the ability to make a difficult catch look easy.
The Wolverine Blog newcomer Jack Slice goes into awesome detail about what Funchess will do in Ann Arbor:
Funchess’ main asset on the field is his versatility, and the staff has a plan to utilize his skills... They’ll slide him in motion and have him plowing holes in the middle of the line as a fullback. They’ll use him in a traditional H-Back role. They’ll split him out wide and create mismatches with his size. Funchess (and other U Tight Ends) will be the ultimate utility player.
Tom talked to Funchess's teammate, MI DE Mario Ojemudia:
It depends on what [Devin] says to me. We've talked about playing together, but that's not the main reason I would choose to go to a college. I pretty much knew [Devin] was going to Michigan, I just didn't know when he was going to commit.
For the record, the Wolverines are in his top 3 ($, info in header).
AJ is a huge high school tight end who could play either tight end or offensive tackle at Michigan. At spring camps he demonstrated excellent measuables, including a sub 5.00 second forty and recorded a 30-inch vertical. AJ also tested well in the squat and bench.
Magnus talks class fit on Touch the Banner:
The high number of offers to tight ends in this class suggests that Michigan would like to take at least two players at the position, and the skill sets of those offers tell me that they would like at least one blocking tight end and one pass receiving threat at the position. Williams is the blocking variety and has stated that the coaches want to use him to pave the way at the point of attack.
Every fanbase has "that guy," and this Arkansas messageboarder DOES NOT UNDERSTAND why any skill position player with an Arkansas offer would commit to any other school, unless they're getting paid.
- IN QB Gunner Kiel. One of the nation's top QBs, Michigan seems like a longshot. With Pike off the table, do they turn up the heat?
- FL QB Bennie Coney. Michigan currently in his top 5, trailing his top 2 of Notre Dame and Florida State.
- OH QB Maty Mauk. Though he wants to play in a spread offense, he has the size and skills to play in a pro-style. Michigan is in his top group.
- CA QB Jake Rodrigues. Hasn't been mentioned much, but holds a Michigan offer.
- NJ QB/Ath Devin Fuller. Not the prototypical pro-style QB, but Michigan's coaches have said he could get a shot at the position.
There are a couple as-yet unoffered QBs that may get a shot as well:
- OH QB Austin Appleby. Not terribly mobile, but he can throw it.
- OH QB Tyler O'Connor. O'Connor seems to be ahead of Appleby in the offer LINE, and he thinks he'll be getting one soon. A Michigan offer would put them among his favorites, and he wants to decide by the first week of his senior season. Michigan's coaches are in his school today.
- MI QB Brian Blackburn. His interest seems to be picking up, but he's still a little way down the list.
- IL QB Wes Lunt. Recently picked up a Wisconsin offer.
With instate phenom Shane Morris in the 2013 class, an elite signal-caller isn't an absolute necessity this year.
Assume the Position: Linebacker
Space was tight in last week's recruiting post, what with two commitments and all, so it's time to delve into linebacker recruiting going forward. Michigan currently has commitments from Scout's #2 and #9 middle linebackers (though I think Jenkins-Stone is more likely to be a SAM at the next level), and are in good position with at least a couple other guys.
How many linebackers will they take in the 2012 class? They had a pretty big haul last year, with Frank Clark, Antonio Poole, Keith Heitzman, Kellen Jones, Desmond Morgan, and Brennen Beyer. OK, that's beyond a "pretty big haul," but it's also likely that some of these guys end up at other positions. For example, Clark can play TE, Heitzman is probably a TE or DE, Beyer is almost certainly a DE, and Morgan could even play fullback.
It's clear that the staff wants at least one more LB in this class, and depending on who they can land, I think they'd take two. The most obvious candidate to land in the class is OH LB Joe Bolden, who likes Michigan a lot, is "still a major priority" ($, info in header), and could decide "at any time." He was the focus of last week's Sam Webb column in the Detroit News:
Colerain headman Tom Bolden: "Speaking as a head coach, he is a phenomenal player. He can play inside and he can play outside at the linebacker position. He covers a lot of ground, he is smart, and he can make the checks. He is a thumper. When he gets there he makes an impact. When he tackles kids, they stay tackled. Plus he carries a 3.9 GPA and is a great man off the field. I think all that makes him a great football player and a great young man."
Good lookin' out, uncle Tom. Scout's Allen Trieu:
"He has very good size, and he's a tough, hard-nosed football player," Trieu stated. "He's a classic, throwback type linebacker, but he's not just a run stuffer. He runs well and shows good ability in coverage. I think he can be an every-down linebacker and that's why so many schools are after him... Put that all together and he has a shot at playing early and often."
Ohio State hasn't offered (and apparently won't), and that means good things if he eventually suits up for the maize-and-blue:
"To me, if you didn't recruit me — and I don't like to be arrogant and full of myself — I like to prove people wrong," Bolden admitted. "I love doing it. I love talking, but also backing it up. If you've ever been in that situation, it makes it sweeter. It would definitely feel good."
I think the staff would probably also take a commitment from MI LB James Ross or PA LB Deaysean Rippy. Beyond those guys, it's tough to see any mutually-interested options.
IL LB Antonio Morrison visited Michigan for the spring game ($, info in header), and has picked up a Florida offer. MI LB Tyler Goble has visited Ann Arbor, but I have to think his best bet is a preferred walkon spot at this point. OH LB Mason Monheim was recently on campus.
In the "who might be next" department, MI DE Matt Godin will announce a decision on May 12th. He's a lifelong Michigan fan, and the Wolverines are in his final three along with Michigan State and Wisconsin.
Michigan will offer IL CB Anthony Standifer if he performs well at Michigan's camp. He's a big CB, and what he might lack in elite speed, he makes up for with ball skills:
Michigan was the first non-MAC school to show bigtime interest, and Charles Woodson is his favorite corner.
MN OL Jonah Pirsig gets the local fluff treatment from the Pioneer Press. The way the article is written, Jerry Kill might commit seppuku if he doesn't land Pirsig. The kid currently favors Iowa.
OH DE Tom Strobel will play in the Army All-American game.
MI CB Terry Richardson has set a firm decision date ($, info in header).
OK RB Donovan Roberts holds a Michigan offer and he will decide today ($, info in header). I'd be shocked if Michigan is the selection.
Michigan seems like a longshot for MD WR Stefon Diggs, a teammate of 2011 signee Blake Countess.
OH RB Bri'Onte Dunn, currently an Ohio State commit, has softened that commitment, and may visit Ann Arbor soon.
PA RB Greg Garmon plans to visit Ann Arbor.
OH DE Pharoah Brown is making a return visit to Ann Arbor soon.
NJ S Brandon Napoleon will visit in May.
A couple new(ish) offers:
- VA DE Ken Ekanem has picked up a Michigan offer. The offer surprised him, but he might reciprocate the interest with an Ann Arbor visit this summer.
- Michigan has offered TX RB Jonathan Williams.
- Michigan has offered TX FB Dominic Ramacher.
Michigan has offered OH RB Dymonte Thomas.
Brandon Graham and Ricky Dixon
A few years ago I took a look at the Rivals top 100 and attempted to evaluate the success or failure of the kids in it, ranking each player on a five point scale and coming up with an average. It was pretty interesting but an enormous pain in the butt and the vague desire to repeat that study for future classes paled in comparison to the mountain of tedious research it required.
But if ESPN is going to do the tedious research for me, I'm on board. What follows is a reprise of the earlier post's methodology. Players are rated on a five point scale:
- Total bust.
- Contributor but a marginal one, or a not-very-good starter.
- Average starter.
- All-Conference-ish player in a BCS league, likely NFL draftee.
- All-American-ish player, likely to be drafted in top two rounds.
These should roughly correspond with star rankings. Players on the borderline will be assinged a 3.5 or whatever. Players who don't make it for reasons other than talent—injury, grades or being a total knucklehead—are noted as such. It's a bit much to expect recruiting analysts to project who is going to rob a liquor store.
This post covers the ESPN top 50. The table below has rankings from the three major services and a brief explanation of what happened to them.
|Three year starter and second-team All ACC at FSU; left for Rhodes Scholarship before senior year. Sixth round pick of Titans, NFL backup.|
|All-purpose Florida ninja. First round pick of Vikings, offensive rookie of year.|
|50 catches for USC as soph, injured, buried on depth chart, transfer to Cinci, injured in first game at UC.|
|Three year starter left to be top ten pick after true junior season.|
|Instant starter at UGA, first pick in 2009 draft.|
|Part of backfield platoon for first three years; 1200 yards at 4.3 YPC as senior, two-time AB12, expected to be 2nd-3rd round pick|
|Three-time AB12, AA as senior, second round pick of Ravens, Butkus finalist|
|Brutal headhunter was four-time AA. Second round pick of 49ers.|
|Three year starter had some injury problems but was 1st team All SEC as junior; undrafted, practice squad type in NFL.|
|Transferred to Maryland after one year, worked way into starting lineup as junior, probably won't be drafted.|
|Monster sophomore season (12.5 sacks, Hendricks finalist) followed by minor legal trouble, disappointing junior year, early NFL draft entry. Went undrafted and is a practice squad guy.|
|Left after Las Cronicas Locas, transferred to USC, sat on bench, lost to ND in only start.|
|Beat out by Colt McCoy, transferred to Ole Miss. Mediocre two-year starter there. Idiotically entered NFL draft after 20-int junior year. Surprise: undrafted.|
|Member of USC diverse but mediocre backfield as soph/junior. Dropped 275 pounds on his throat before senior season. Entered draft anyway, made team, immediately destroyed ankle.|
|Is Tim Tebow.|
|Jai Eugene||LSU||16||17||#12 CB||2|
|Started nine games as a sophomore but was LSU's nickel guy after that; bacup safety as senior.|
|Contributor for four years, starter as senior. No college accolades but a fourth round NFL draft pick.|
|Problem-ridden LB suspended three times before transfer to JUCO, then Memphis. Was starting for Tigers before getting suspended again. http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2010/nov/05/porter-suspends-tiger-senior-safety-ball/|
|Four year starter surrounded by utter incompetence. Sixth round pick of Dallas|
|Brandon Warren||FSU||20||#7 TE||24||TKE|
|Contentious transfer after excellent freshman year; booted from Tennessee; at North Alabama.|
|Two-time AA was third pick of NFL draft.|
|Started as senior, contributed before that. Six sacks, one honorable-mention AB12. May go at the tail end of the draft.|
|Three year starter but not a notable one. No accolades, won't get drafted.|
|Three year starter and enormous human; projected to go in the fourth to sixth rounds of the upcoming draft.|
|Reshad Jones||UGA||25||#13 S||14||4|
|Two year starter was twice second-team All SEC; picked in fifth round.|
|Another member of USC's consistently mediocre backfield. Had bust-out senior year until sidelined by injury.|
|Markeith Summers||Miss||27||#81 WR||#38 WR||2|
|Mostly a backup; did start as a senior but finished fourth on the team in receptions.|
|Jim Barrie||UF||28||#58 OL||#15 OT||Inj|
|Career ended with ACL explosion.|
|Jermaine Cunningham||UF||29||#13 DE||#4 WDE||4|
|Three year starter was second team all SEC as a senior; second round NFL pick.|
|Human battering ram was brutally effective when healthy. First round pick.|
|The best player in the history of awful defenses, Graham was an AA in 2009 and a first round pick of the Eagles.|
|Richard Dickson||LSU||32||#13 TE||#6 TE||3.5|
|Three year starter had 30 catches as soph/junior. Dropped off a bit as a senior. Second team All SEC twice; undrafted but stuck with Lions.|
|JB Walton||PSU||33||#28 OL||72||Grades|
|Transferred to D-II school after academic issues.|
|Played in every game as a freshman, then succumbed to academic issues. Got drafted in seventh round and started 12 games as a rookie.|
|Damon McDaniel||FSU||35||#29 WR||69||1|
|Seven catches in two years; transferred to Hampton; didn’t do much there.|
|Vague contributor didn't do much until he was a senior and even then just 24 catches.|
|More mediocre USC tailbacks. Moody had about 400 yards each year he was at USC; he transferred to Florida and did little.|
|Started as junior but was unproductive; moved to TE; played a bit. Won't get drafted.|
|Jeremiha Hunter||Iowa||39||#19 LB||78||4|
|Three year starter was second team AB10 as senior. Probably will get drafted at tail end.|
|Byron Maxwell||Clem||40||#20 CB||#18 CB||3|
|Nickelback until his senior year, when he was a decent starter. May get drafted.|
|Terrence Austin||UCLA||41||81||#14 WR||3.5|
|Second team AP10 as kick returner; also a decent receiver. Seventh round pick who stuck with Redskins.|
|Dustin Earnest||Texas||42||83||#14 ILB||2|
|Career backup. Did contribute a decent number of tackles as an upperclassman.|
|Okay two-year starter was passed over by NFL.|
|Mediocre runner averaged under 4.0 YPC for career; moved to FB as senior.|
|Started off with a bang but production tailed off. Fourth round pick.|
|Transferred to Stanford, started as a senior in TE-mad Harbaugh offense. Won't get drafted.|
|Insanely explosive do-everything RB/KR/PR was a top ten pick.|
|Ricky Dixon||LSU||48||#46 WR||#23 WR||1|
|Two catches in two season; tranferred to Texas Southern.|
|JUCO, then three years at Georgia where he didn't do anything.|
|Prepped, went to Pitt, and was the Panthers offense for two years. Second round pick.|
So what does this say?
The 44 players who didn't bomb out for unrelated reasons averaged a 3.4. On average a player from ESPN's top 50 turned out to be a borderline All-Conference type. In buckets:
4 (and 4.5): 8
3 (and 3.5): 14
75% of ESPN top 50 players were at least average-ish starters on big time college football teams or Notre Dame. 43% of them were All-Conference types, and 25% were All-American types. That's a good strike rate at the very top.
It's not as good as it was when I looked a the 2002 class. That Rivals top 50 averaged 3.5 and only had 13 guys 3 or below. However, three guys were punted on and twelve more weren't rated for one reason or another. Only six dropped out here. Sites may be more careful these days about character/grade rumors.
Can't say yet until we get through the whole 150 and check out Rivals and Scout lists to see their embarrassing misses, but the above looks ugly for ESPN. There are four flat out busts on the above list. On two all three sites were fooled; on two they weren't. Those two were
- Ricky Dixon, an LSU receiver two did nothing and transferred. ESPN had him 48th. Scout had him a generic three-star; Rivals had him towards the tail end of their four stars.
- Damon McDaniel was 35th to ESPN; Scout had him 29th amongst WRs and Rivals had him 69th. All were somewhat wrong, but ESPN was more wrong.
There are seven meh guys, and on most ESPN was more wrong. Some of them are moderate differences that we'll probably see when we run across outliers in the Rivals and Scout top 50s, but on a few ESPN whiffed hard:
- #27 Markeith Summers was a generic three star to Scout and just hanging on to a fourth star at Rivals.
- #42 Dustin Earnest was 83rd on Scout and a generic three star ILB to Rivals.
Rivals was also considerably less wrong about Jai Eugene; both other sites got Clemson CB Byron Maxwell, LSU TE Richard Dickson, TX QB Jevan Snead, USC S Antwine Perez, MI DE Brandon Graham, OSU RB Chris Wells, and USC RB Emmanuel Moody better pegged than ESPN. There aren't many examples of the reverse, just small gaps in evaluations. We'll see if that holds up once the whole picture is tediously put into Excel.