"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
This weekend ended up being a huge deal for Michigan recruiting. Not only did they secure commitments from Pharaoh Brown and Mario Ojemudia, but they got instate receiver Aaron Burbridge and Ohio State commit Bri'onte Dunn to visit as well. Here's a look at what Dunn thought of his trip, what may be happening in the near future, and thoughts from a few other prospects.
6'2", 215 lbs.
While Dunn is still committed to Ohio State he has been public about his desire to visit Michigan for some time. The Michigan coaches impressed him when they offered him, and there has been some sort of interest ever since. The recent happenings with Ohio State and the NCAA have gotten the Dunn's attention, and they have said they will continue to monitor what happens in Columbus. I spoke with both Bri'onte and his father after the trip to Ann Arbor. Here's what his father had to say first.
[The visit] went pretty good. They showed us around, we went through the stadium, and basically went around the whole campus. We got a good welcome in there. The head coach, Brady Hoke, wasn't there but we were talking to the rest of the coaches.
They told him he fits in their offense and that they want a back his size. They need a running back. We went up here because he wanted to go to a few places to get the experience. It's just been all Ohio State, so he wanted to look around a little bit. You always have to have a backup plan, too. It was a good trip, though, and his cousin [2013 DB] Dymonte Thomas schooled him on it after he went up there. They've talked about going to school together too.
Both Bri'onte and his father didn't really want to let out too much about the visit or where he stands on either side. Here's the limited amount that Bri'onte was willing to say.
It was better than I expected. They showed us around a lot and explained all the schooling stuff to us. They were good people, they seem like I could build a relationship with them. I'm just looking around right now, I'm still committed to Ohio State.
Like I said, Bri'onte didn't want to put too much out there yet. He wasn't comfortable answering a few of my tougher questions about his situation. I think a lot of this will depend on what happens with the NCAA investigation. I also think that this is just the start of a courtship, and I wouldn't expect anything to happen anytime soon. Either way, it's a positive for Michigan to get him on campus and put a face to a name with the coaches.
6'1", 178 lbs
Standifer had been told he was close to a Michigan offer a few weeks back. One of the Michigan coaches was out to see him in person this week, and Anthony was given an offer based on his performance. Things could start moving pretty rapidly for him now that the offer is official.
I have very very strong interest in Michigan. Me and my mom and dad are going to sit down and figure everything out, but I'll be visiting on Thursday [May 12th]. I was just excited and at a loss for words when they offered. I feel very thankful and appreciative for the offer. Michigan is at the top of my list.
He says he has very strong interest, but isn't sure when he wants to make his final decision.
I haven't been down there yet to see much, but I love the stadium and just the football atmosphere there. They told me that I'm a Michigan corner and that they want size, and to get down there ASAP.
I'm not saying it will for sure happen, but I believe there is a chance that Anthony could pull the trigger on his visit. He seemed excited but unsure of what he wanted to do. If the trip goes well don't be surprised if he makes the call on the spot. Before you ask, this wouldn't have any affect on the recruitment of any other defensive backs, including Terry Richardson.
6'3", 195 lbs.
Gilmore is a prospect that has been a little on the quiet side lately. He holds a Michigan offer as well as Arizona State, Duke, Notre Dame, San Diego State, Utah, and Washington. Despite living in California Gilmore says he has serious interest in Michigan.
[Michigan] is definitely a school I'm interested in. I mean we don't really hear that much about them out here, so to learn more about the program and school would be great. I know they have a rich tradition and good academics, it's a huge program. They have been down for awhile, but the new head coach that they have I'm sure is going to turn it around.
Gilmore wasn't positive but he had thought that Brady Hoke offered him previously while at San Diego State. While GIlmore does like Michigan, it's still early in the process for him.
I'm still taking everything in right now. I want to get out and take my visits and then I will start to narrow down the schools. I've been hearing from Cal, UCLA, and Northwestern lately, so we'll see. I'm not sure what I want to do yet, but I will be seriously considering Michigan in all this.
Gilmore holds a Michigan offer, but since he wants to take his time, I'm not sure how it will play out for him.
The commitment of Mario Ojemudia has increased Michigan's chances with his teammate, WR Aaron Burbridge. If they put the full court press on Burbridge they have a chance at landing him.
Instate DE Matt Godin is announcing this Thursday the 12th. He's down to Michigan, Michigan State, and Wisconsin. His announcement will be public, so you'll know.
A lot of people were asking if the commitment from Pharaoh Brown and Mario Ojemudia would have any affect on Chris Wormley or Matt Godin, and the answer is no. Brown and Ojemudia are weakside ends, and Michigan is recruiting Godin and Wormley for the strong side. They will take all four if they fall that way.
Illinois DT Jaleel Johnson was offered this week. I believe Michigan has a good chance with Johnson.
Arizona ATH DJ Foster was offered this week. He has interest in Michigan, but they will need to get him on campus before any serious interest could happen. Oregon is the likely early leader.
[Ed: Chatter on twitter is that MI CB Terry Richardson may be announcing soon; hopefully "Roll Tide Nation" is just a tweak directed at Ross and RJS. Also, the Rivals 100 is out. RJS is the only state of Michigan player in the top 100 at #87.]
Michigan re-skin is go at EDSBS:
There's also a Bo gnome that pops up erratically that I didn't have the patience to get a screenshot of. Various people are vomiting the comments. You have done well, Michigan internets.
The Wolverines are truly reeling them in now. Three new commits this week. To the front page again! Action since last rankings:
5-2-11 Michigan gains commitment from James Ross. Notre Dame gains commitment from Justin Ferguson. Wisconsin gains commitment from Bart Houston.
5-5-11 Northwestern gains commitment from Ian Park.
5-6-11 Nebraska gains commitment from Jordan Westerkamp.
5-7-11 Michigan gains commitments from Mario Ojemudia and Pharaoh Brown. Michigan State gains commitment from Evan Jones.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Watchlist||Scout Avg||ESPN Watchlist||24/7 Avg|
All rankings will be on the 5-star scale this year (when available) for easier comparing across services. Rivals rankings come out this week. Full data after the jump.
It's a commitment-palooza! OH DE Pharaoh Brown is the newest Wolverine. Also, I'm really going to have to practice spelling "Pharaoh" (not "Pharoah").
|3*, #45 DE||NR DE||NR DE||4*, 90, #10 TE, #14 Ohio|
There's alllllllllmost a consensus among the recruiting sites about Brown's size. ESPN is the outlier in height at 6-5 (all the others agree he's 6-6, except the guy quoted below), and 24/7 Sports is the odd site out at 230 pounds, whereas the others all agree that he's 220.
Though 24/7 Sports calls him a tight end, Pharaoh told Tom that he's a defensive player in Greg Mattison's eyes:
"I talked to Coach Mattison today, and then he put the head coach on the phone and they offered me right there. They said they saw my film and they really liked me."
Pharaoh said he plays quarterback, defensive end, and tight end but Michigan is recruiting him for DE.
He's a big guy, but to play at the next level, he's definitely got plenty of work to do in the weight room. There's not a ton out there on him, but Ohio recruiting guru Duane Long has talked about Pharaoh a couple times:
Pharaoh Brown is 6-7 and 215. He runs so well and is so long. Right now he prefers tight end which is very odd as he plays quarterback on offense. The way he plays end I don't know who would waste him at tight end. Yes, I said waste him. I like a good receiving tight end as well as anybody but defensive linemen are what win championships.
He's not sold on Pharaoh's apparent attitude:
I can tell you I did not consider him [for his projected 22-man OSU class]. He says he wants to play tight end. He is willing to play defense but he wants to play tight end. That is not good enough. We talk about defensive players mindset. He has all the skills to be a great defensive end but I can't put a player on defense who does not want to play defense.
But, like, the film, man. It is good. If he's willing to play defensive end, he's an outstanding player at the position. Despite not being in Long's projected Ohio State class, he's listed as one of the scariest to get away:
I have been very excited about Pharaoh Brown. My enthusiasm has been dampened a bit after hearing about his desire to be a tight end. No matter which side of the ball he lines up on he could come back to haunt us...
Long doesn't really have a whole lot to say about Brown's specific skills other than "they exist." His highlight video shows off great athleticism, but a lot of the plays feature some 5-7 white kid whiffing on a block, so don't read tooo much into some of it.
He's physically reminiscent of Terrelle Pryor in high school, though probably not quite that athletic (and he appears to be much worse as a passer). I'm a little surprised with Scout's ranking of him, but it's still pretty early in the process, so whateva.
Brown had a strong regional offer sheet, with a couple of national names mixed in. Arizona State, Boston College, Colorado, UConn, Illinois, Louisville, Michigan State, Nebraska and West Virginia are some of the more notable names on his list.
Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Oregon also showed interest, but did not offer him.
Scout has junior year numbers:
Had 49 tackles (13 for loss), seven sacks, three pass breakups and two forced fumbles as a junior. Also played quarterback.
The amazing defensive end/QB combo!
FAKE 40 TIME
None of the premium sites have listed 40 times. Default five FAKEs out of five.
I'm no professional scout, but color me very impressed:
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
So he's not Ojemudia-skinny, but Brown is still going to have to really put on some weight to be a top defensive end at the next level. With Michigan's haul of defensive players in the 2011 class and so far this year, he'll be able to redshirt and do some work in the weight room.
After that he should get some work into the rotation as a freshman and sophomore. Kenny Wilkins, Chris Rock, and Keith Heitzman are good players, but somebody with Brown's athleticism is a rare treat, so I think he's able to pass at least one of them on the depth chart by his redshirt sophomore season.
As a redshirt junior, he'll burst onto the scene, acting as a disruptive force in opposing backfields. Depending on his production that season, he has the potential to even be an early entrant to the NFL Draft. He could have All-Big Ten potential by the time he graduates. However as a prospect with a lot of developing to do he has to put in the hard work to reach that potential.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
The recruiting along the defensive line is going to get a lot more selective, especially at end where the Wolverines got two commits today alone. With Matt Godin announcing soon, and the likes of Chris Wormley (and a host of others from Ohio) still out there, Michigan has the opportunity to only go after the best.
Going forward, the needs are (as you know, since there has been a commitment post approximately every 20 minutes for the past month) quarterback, offensive line, defensive tackle, and some top offensive skill players. A couple defensive backs would be nice as well.
MI DE Mario Ojemudia, a teammate of current commit TE Devin Funchess, has joined Michigan's recruiting class with a verbal pledge.
|4*, #17 DT(!)||NR DE||NR WDE||3*, 89, NR WDE|
So, all three sites agree that Ojemudia is a defensive lineman (including Scout, which calls him a tackle(!)), but, uh, they don't list him with defensive lineman dimensions. Scout, which you may recall lists him at defensive tackle, says Mario is 6-2 and 220 pounds, and ESPN is in the same neighborhood, just four pounds lighter. Rivals and 24/7 Sports both say that Mario is 215 pounds, but Rivals is the most optimistic on his height, listing him at 6-3, while 24/7 Sports credits him at merely 6-1.
As you can see Mario is likely to be emblazoned with the "undersized" label throughout his career should he end up at defensive end. I assume that will indeed be his position, because seriously? Five linebackers?
He talks about his own game on his Scout profile:
“I have great speed. I’m very aggressive and I play hard and fast. I want to work on shedding blockers. I’m trying to get bigger and stronger too.”
That "great speed" should be his main asset, as it so often is among undersized linemen. Of course, it also raises a question of "if you're fast and little, why aren't you a linebacker?"
FHH Coach John Herrington on Mario's selection to the Free Press Dream Team:
"He is relentless on defense. He doesn't stay blocked, and he gets to the football. He has great potential. He will be a great college player someday."
Herrington and a couple of Mario's well-known teammates talk about his game in the Detroit News:
The 6-3, 215-pounder is undersized in the trenches, but his power and quickness mitigates that disadvantage. So, too, does his relentless aggression. "Mario is unstoppable," said Burbridge. "You never seen him blocked. Mario is a beast." Funchess agreed: "(Ojemudia) is just an animal. He just gets the job done."
"Mario just has a motor that is unbelievable," Herrington said. "Now, he is very quiet. We're hoping that he develops as a team leader, but he is so quiet that he really has not done that yet. As far as his game, he has got to get some size. He's about 215-218. If he gets up to college and he gets up to 245, he'll just be amazing. He could be a hybrid. We've never played him [standing] up, but he's fast and he could play an outside linebacker. I think he is better down, but he's always wanted to play up as a linebacker, so we'll see."
Allen Trieu also discussed his game:
"Mario Ojemudia is quick off the ball, aggressive, and disruptive. The main knock on him is that he's about 215 pounds and has been playing out of position as a tackle. I think he will be fine at end, though, because he's so athletic.
No mention of the height being a liability at the next level.
Central Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan State, Missouri, Stanford and Syracuse were the non-Michigan schools in pursuit of Mario. Not exactly a murderer's row, but Iowa has consistently turned middling recruits into NFL Draft picks, and Stanford is riding a wave of success without recent precedent.
Mario's junior numbers:
Ojemudia made 127 tackles on the season from his defensive end spot, including 12 sacks and 3 forced fumbles. Ojemudia was a driving force behind Harrison winning their 13th championship in 2010. He was also one of only three underclassmen to be named to the Detroit Free Press Dream Team.
Those are some serious numbers, especially from the defensive tackle position, and on a team that has talent to share the tackles.
Other members of the defensive Dream Team are headed to Michigan (Brennen Beyer and Delonte Hollowell), Oregon (Jake Fisher), Florida (CB Valdez Showers), and Michigan State (Lawrence Thomas and Taiwan Jones), so to be one of two underclassmen on the team (along with fellow future Wolverine James Ross) is a big honor.
FAKE 40 TIME
Scout and Rivals both say 4.65. That's quite precise, and considering both sites say the exact same number down to the hundredth of a second, it seems much more believable. However for a guy who's going to play defensive end in college, and is not a 4- or 5-star prospect, it seems a little fake. I deem it three FAKEs out of five.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Take a look at a picture of Mario. At any position on the field, he'd be due for a redshirt year. He's like the reverse Brandon Graham (way too big as a high school linebacker, whereas Mario is way too small as a high school defensive tackle) Thanks to a few solid Michigan recruiting classes along the defensive line, he'll definitely have that luxury.
Following the redshirt, another year of mostly bench time to continue adding mass and learning the offense is probably advisable. By his redshirt sophomore season, he should start to work into a bigger role in the rotation, and pick up some time on special teams.
As an upperclassman, he should be able to challenge for a starting spot, becoming one of the key players by the time he graduates. His height might limit him in the NFL Draft, unless teams see him as a 3-4 OLB.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Michigan has needs along the defensive line, but with a commitment from Matt Godin possible in the near future, spots could start filling up quickly, particularly at defensive end. The Wolverines can hold out for a top strongside end (Chris Wormley pls), and focus on defensive tackles.
Going forward the Wolverines also need more offensive linemen, a quarterback, and a wide receiver. Speaking of wideouts, Michigan has thus far completed two-thirds of the Harrison hat trick, with top in-state WR Aaron Burbridge the lone missing piece. Burbridge doesn't yet have an offer, reportedly because of grades.
Once Michigan starts filling in the needs listed above, they can truly narrow focus to only the top-top prospects, and try to reel in one hell of a recruiting class.
[ED: Moved to the diaries. This obviously took some work beyond the level of a standard post. ZL]
Part of UUDD’s argument is that player development (and, in particular, playstyle) is a driving factor behind the Big Ten outperforming (and the Big 12 underperforming) expectations with respect to defensive players and offensive lineman. Brian had an alternative/additional explanation: a combination of recruiting service bias and difficulty in evaluating high school lineman.
I think there may another element at work: scouting services overrating certain sections of the country and underrating others, particularly the Midwest. Rivals (the source of the rankings used) doesn't even have a Midwest analyst. Meanwhile, OL rankings are particularly inaccurate since many high school kids need to put on 50 pounds before they can play in college. The flipside—skill position players more easily projectable—sees a much, much lower spread amongst conferences. The worst-performing conference is the ACC at 94% of expectation; the best is the Big East at 108%. That's a much lower spread than you see in the D and OL numbers, one that looks like an even distribution distorted by a little randomness.
If there was a regional bias in recruiting rankings, hard-to-evaluate OL would be the place it would show up most prominently. I think there is. Your ratings are just wrong when Wisconsin has two four-star linemen in the last five years, as they do on Rivals. They are not evaluating linemen correctly. I'm not sure what Big 12's hole of suck on defense represents but I'd be more convinced it was a playstyle thing if they were running 3-3-5s or something. Going up against Blaine Gabbert and a bunch of other passing spreads doesn't make much difference to anyone but a few linebackers, it seems.
Not content to let our fearless MGoLeader’s assertions hang out there without poking around the data a little bit, I asked Mr. UUDD for his dataset* and set to work determining (1) whether Midwestern recruits are underrated by the recruiting services, and (2) whether offensive lineman are comparatively more difficult to evaluate.
Specifically, I looked at (1) whether non-5 star Midwestern recruits outperform the “percent drafted” expectations for their star ranking,** suggesting that Midwestern recruits are underrated, and (2) whether the spread is smaller among the “percent drafted” numbers for offensive line recruits relative to all recruits, suggesting that the rankings are relatively less accurate.
Midwestern Recruits Slightly Outperform Expectations
The first piece is that there is a bias by the recruiting services against Midwestern recruits because the services spend relatively less time and resources tracking the Midwest. That bias translates into lower recruiting rankings for Midwest recruits, resulting in underrating of those recruits. Chart:
|Recruiting Stars||Overall Percent Drafted||Midwest Percent Drafted|
Midwestern recruits of the 2-4 star variety slightly outperform draft expectations relative to their peers from other parts of the country. However, the sample sizes here are way too small to reveal whether or not this difference is significant.
Of course, the chart doesn't disprove my mildly paranoid belief that Midwesterners are consistently being slighted by the jerks on the coasts, so let's call this a win.
Note that the Midwestern 5 star recruits underperform the mean. This has no impact on the claim (5 star recruits can't be underrated), but it's interesting nonetheless. Really small samples for 5 stars is all the explanation I need.
Stars Matter Less for Offensive Line Recruits
The second piece is that the big boys are harder to evaluate because they are less prepared for college football than their smaller brethren. Offensive lineman in particular often need a redshirt and a whole lot of S&C before they can show potential. Thus, recruiting rankings for offensive lineman are less accurate because the evaluation essentially comes down to "he's big and does not apparently soil himself."
|Recruiting Stars||Overall Percent Drafted||OL Percent Drafted|
Once again, the data is consistent with the claim, but not at statistically significant levels. The spread between the chances of being drafted as a 2 star offensive lineman and a 5 star offensive lineman is much smaller than the spread for all positions. In other words, stars may matter less for the big guys, but we need more recruiting cycles to know for sure.
* Huge, huge thanks to UpUpDownDown for sharing his work. As I found out very quickly trying to replicate the dataset, the data is extremely difficult to cross reference because a lot of recruits have the same name or slightly modified their name during their college career.
** Note one small wrinkle in the dataset: players that are eligible to declare for the draft, but haven’t, are counted as undrafted. Thus, a number of players from the recruiting classes of 2008 and 2007 that will eventually be drafted are nonetheless included in the denominator, but not the numerator, in the percent drafted numbers.
Edit: More Fun
In response to comments, the following charts reflect the overall percent drafted for only the 2002-2006 recruiting classes, and the N values for each set. I agree that including '07 and '08 players that haven't declared isn't ideal, but I wanted to be able to compare apples to apples with UUDD's analysis.
|Recruiting Stars||Overall Percent Drafted|
|Recruiting Stars||02-08 Overall||02-08 Midwest||02-08 OL||02-06 Overall|