"It's not about last year or who's here or who's isn't here," says your head coach. "It's about getting out here and competing and seeing who is here, and that's where we're gonna go."
I am sure you have seen the artile, U-M’s Rodriguez wants more walk-ons... although he probably doesn't want them starting at QB again.
So, what makes a great walk-on program? Is it finding All-Conference or All-American talent? Or maybe filling needs on the roster with great “character guys” - “projects” - “late bloomers”?
The most famous walk-on is probably Daniel “RUDY” Ruettiger and his sack against Georgia Tech in 1975. So what can a new or “preferred” walk-on program mean for Michigan? <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
It seems coach Rodriguez, who was a walk-on himself at West Virginia, hopes to find a handful of players that can contribute in the future and possibly on this year’s team:
"They're going to create some competition at practice, and I would suspect in the new walk-on group, there will be three to four of them who will earn scholarships. There will be one or two who may play as soon as this year, and I'm really excited about that."
But, where do walk-ons come from?
The term usually refers to an athlete who becomes part of a team without being recruited beforehand or awarded a scholarship. Until 1977, schools were allowed to offer as many scholarships as they desired, a rule that resulted in the stockpiling of top players by major football programs. The NCAA has limited the number of scholarships since ’77: 95 from 1977-91, at 92 in 1992, 88 in 1993, and at 85 since 1994. Schools are also required by Title IX to provide an equal number of athletic scholarships to men and women; 85 football scholarships are thus, hard to even out…
Thus, teams look to walk-on players to fill out their rosters, participate as members of the scout team, and at some positions - prove their merit before being considered for a scholarship (punter, kicker, long-snapper, etc). Walk-ons also provide depth at positions that were not adequately addressed by scholarship recruits or where a team has seen losses due to injuries. However, for many players it is a chance to fulfill a dream – and it is unlikely that they will ever see meaningful playing time.
There is debate as to who benefits from scholarship limitations. Some claim that it has lead to greater parity within the system and allowed smaller programs to attract talent. While others argue that top programs get the best of both worlds: recruiting the best players and luring other talented players who are willing to enroll as preferred walk-ons.
At Michigan, a successful walk-on program should result in the attraction of players who were recruited by other programs, but would prefer to play at Michigan because of our tradition, academics, or maybe a connection they have to the Michigan family... Michigan enters this season with quite a few players in the walk-on program and hopefully some that might contribute down the line: Barker, Lindley, and several kickers. For the time being lets ignore the walk-ons that contributed to last year’s team…
Ideally a strong Michigan program can attract positions of need such as FB within our system and give our coaches a chance to find contributors in a unique way. Because of its small town makeup and tradition of 7v7 football, Nebraska has produced a lot of talent within its walk-on program over the years (Joel Makovicka, Jason Peter) – something that Barry Alvarez has attempted to recreate at Wisconsin:
The big exception to the rule was Jim Leonhard, a walk-on from tiny Tony, Wis. “He was a little safety that no one recruited,” Alvarez said. “By his second year, he was leading the Big Ten in punt returns and still wasn’t on scholarship. We got him on scholarship in a hurry after that.”
And where’s Jim Leonhard now? “In his fifth year in the NFL,” Alvarez said.
Many small town players prove to be great athletes with hard work ethic, but they receive no attention from coaches and recruiting services. Thus, the Nebraska’s program has been the benefactor of a great tradition of walk-on players – much of it is chronicled in a new documentary, Walk Ons: Husker Edge, that is available on the web this week.
Overall, I think an argument can be made already based on our recruiting in 2009-2010, that our coaches are scouting and targeting talent to fill unique needs within our defensive and offensive schemes (fullback/deathbacker/slot-ninja). Some of these players are going to be relative unknowns and others may only be lightly recruited by major programs. This combined with Michigan’s large fanbase, tradition, and strong academics – could be exactly what we need to establish a strong walk-on program.
Author's Note: Due to Demand - Info on Furrha...
-local talent from Ann Arbor Pioneer
-had ascholarship offer from GVSU, interest from some MAC schools
-decided to commit to UofM as a preferred walk-on
-info from Brian on Nader Furrha
I used Rivals' commit lists and looked to see which recruits had offers from both schools. Some of the 5 star recruits didn't show if sparty offered but it's a safe guess that they did so i counted them, otherwise if it didn't show one of the schools I didn't count it.
Year Competition recruits M Wins MSU wins
2010* 5 2** 2
2009 6 2 4
2008 6 4 2
2007 4 4 0
2006 2 2 0
2005 3 3 0
** maybe 3 doesn't say whether or not Jeremy Jackson was offered by MSU
sorry i don't know how to make tables look pretty
M Wins: DG and Austin White (again not sure about Jackson but he had offers from most of the Big Ten so…)
MSU Wins: Will Gholston and Mylan Hicks
One trend I noticed while doing this is the number of in-state commits for state has increased dramatically in Dantonio’s tenure
Year # of commits
*still not complete
So basically, John L. Smith was useless. He barely tried to compete and failed miserably when he did. Dantonio decided to fight back and has been mildly successful. He won last year but that wasn’t unexpected. Smith wouldn’t have but Dantonio is a much better coach. Right now, it’s neck and neck and it will take this year and at least next to determine who’s winning in-state recruiting. Even with Danonio apparent focus on in-state recruits and M coming off the worst season in its history we are still borderline winning. Once M gets back to its winning ways I think most years it will look like the 2008 class. With M getting most of the recruits but Sparty stealing one or two, and you know what I’m ok with that.
I know it's pretty shoddy statistics and I am welcome to feedback, but I hope i made your work day more enjoyable.
Reader David Williams passes along a number of photos of the new practice facility for your perusal. Click for big—now with swanky lightbox!
Oh, no: I've been tripped up by my own prohibition against Diaries shorter than 200 words. Hoist upon my own petard, as it were, and forced to ramble on aimlessly as I watch the word counter in Windows Live Writer inch towards the minimum. Go, word count, go. You are so far away and only getting closer so slowly. It seems impossible to get to 200 words. How do I do this on a regular basis? Hell, I publish things 10 times that length on a regular basis and oh god I'm just barely getting to 100 right now. This is probably a lesson about subjective perception. Like if I was to eat a lime after a week-long fast I'd probably be pretty okay with that, whereas now like ick. Once there was a point at which we had three different fancy whiskeys around and going back to the stuff that's 20 bucks in a 1.75 L plastic bottle—which had tasted okay before—was agony. But you get used to it again. In the future when I'm wealthier—
Home Blog contains my scoring system and the schedule of events, as well as the top classes I have done so far.
Purdue's rosters got here Monday. Good thing. Means that I can start working on them and actually get some information. I have back to WWII, minus a few years, so that's good.
I'm going to stop summarizing with my first paragraph at the bottom. You can all figure out what the numbers mean.
This is my second of two Michigan classes in a row, and then I'm going to try to find enough information to do the next one down on my list... we will see how that goes, really. Playing it by ear on schools not named Michigan (or Purdue now).
Set the Stage:
Head Coach: Bo Schembechler (1989), Gary Moeller (1990-1993)
1988 Performance: 9-2-1, AP 4th, Big Ten 1st
New Blood: 19
Mini Recruiting Board Lives Here:
The 1989 was recruited off of what had been a standard 9-win Big Ten Title season. The class was strongly balanced, with a good mix of every position. I do not know if Bo thought this was his last season by the time this season started, but it is clear that he was intending on leaving a strong foundation for his successor.
How They Did:
Overall Record: 46-11-3
Varsity Letters: 46
Graduated on Team: 16
Started a Game: 10
Full Eligibility: 12
5th Year Seniors: 10
- Derrick Alexander, WR, All-American 1992, All-Conference 1992 1993
- Tony McGee, TE, All-Conference 1992
- Buster Stanley, DT, All-Conference 1993
- Derrick Alexander, 1994, 1st Round, 29 Overall
- Tony McGee, 1993, 2nd Round, 37 Overall
So, besides being the year I was born, 1989 is famously known as the year after Desmond Howard was recruited, or Bo's last year coaching. That's about it. The class produced two draftees, but they went in rounds 1 and 2, so that is redeeming. One All-American honor was awarded, to Derrick Alexander, who also was All-Big Ten twice and a first-round draft pick. Alexander was solely responsible for .0700 points of this class, giving the class a strong boost. This class only started 15.9% of possible starts, implying that the surrounding classes will be much stronger.
This class also had a very weird senior season Senior season (9-0-3), and a weak 5th Year (8-4-0). When I get more data points, I'm going to try to link 4th year record to recruiting score, so I'd consider their senior year to be 10.5 wins.
On Aug 3, 2009
Dear Professors Haithcock and Boerma,
As a fellow musician and student at the University of Michigan, let me first
congratulate you on putting a product out in the U of M marching band year-in and year-out that is entertaining, classy, and above all else, skilled. However, something must be done about a glaring problem at the University of Michigan football games : the student section cannot hear much sound from the marching band as a whole, except for the mobile percussion. As a result, students are unable to appreciate the excellent and fun music that is being performed; they are also hindered from cheering as loudly and intimidating opposing teams on the football field.
Increased fan/band participation should be something that is striven towards as part of an integral "game-day experience", giving a two-fold effect: fans (and especially students) are much more able to appreciate the workmanship of the musicians, and by creating a louder, more intimidating atmosphere for opposing teams, the student athletes will benefit as well.
Please try anything possible to maximize our game-day experience.
Thanks for your note and the polished expression of your concerns. I will leave the details to Prof. Boerma going forward. In short, the situation you describe is due to the Athletic Department's decision regarding where to seat the band and the fact that each band student seat within the student section makes other seats available at a more expensive price. This is a recent move after more than a decade of the MMB sitting across the field from the student section.
You are not alone in your concern but understand that the band has limited options as electronic support of the sound is against NCAA rules. In that large space, acoustics can only do so much.
This is basically what everyone has hinted at, but I just thought I'd like to give some solid proof as to where things stand, right from the horse's mouth.
I asked him how it compared to his other visits, and he said, "It wasn't the same, but it was the same excitement being around a college atmosphere. I mean, it's the University of Michigan. The tradition there is so much greater than any other school. (laughs) The Big House, there's no comparison to any other school, or stadium. That was the icing on the cake. Walking down that tunnel; I got chills. I wanted to put my pads on right there. Walking on that grass, there's been so many great players to play on that field."
One of the most important things for Brandon was to get to know the coaches better, and get a feel for them. Although the Big House was overwhelming, it seems like the coaches were the best part. "I had a good connection with all of them, I liked them a lot. They were really straight forward, and that was cool. I'm pretty laid back, so I liked that. The best part of the whole visit was talking with coach Rodriguez. He was just so laid back, and he really made me feel like he wanted to get to know me as a person. Most coaches talk about their program, and football. He made me feel like I was his friend, and he cared about what I liked. It was just a normal guy, that was talking to me about football and life. There was no big spotlight, or big ceremony, it was just real," he told me.
Besides Rodriguez, the coach that caught Ifill's attention the most was, of course, Mike Barwis. "(laughing) That guy, wow. I spent most of my time with him. From what I've heard, and what I've seen, he's the best. His whole philosophy is incredible. He's somebody that can motivate you to be the best, and pull the best out of you. Just to see him that fired up about what he does is great. I've never met anyone like him before," said Ifill.
Brandon spoke to Cullen Christian, his teammate, about the visit, and expressed his excitement about everything he saw. The only thing in the way of a commitment now seems to be time. Brandon said, "I'm just waiting to build a better relationship with the coaches. I want to talk to them more, and get more comfortable with them. Everything was great, so I just want to see how that relationship gets built."