"Northwestern fans can be both heartened and disheartened by the loss to Minnesota just like how nineteenth-century resurrectionists were heartened when they pried a heart from a freshly-buried corpse and then disheartened it when they sold it to a disreputable anatomist."
Josh Furman's announcement has been delayed, but not because he's changed his mind. For those of you who haven't seen, the Crab Bowl has been postponed to Monday due to weather.
***EDIT FOR KARMA PURPOSES***
This is a preliminary report card that indicates how I would rank our recruiting class IF signing day were today. Obviously we all know that a LOT could change between now and actual signing day. Players could change their mind, players could be deemed ineligible and asked to go elsewhere, or we could sign three more 5* recruits at positions of need. So if the Karma gods are listening, this is just a preliminary summary of where recruiting stands right now, don't take it too seriously.
Recruiting Report Card:
At this point the recruiting class is wrapping up so we can start handing out some grades. I think Tim or Brian will probably do something similar in the next few days but I got impatient during a slow week at the office so I thought I’d try my hand at putting some grades together. Obviously a lot can still change between now and signing day, so we need some assumptions:
- All current signings stay committed
- Assuming that Murphy, Grimes, and Furman will commit.
- Assume that there will be one more signing but will not make an assumption as to who that is. I’ll talk more about who I would like this to be at the end.
- Handing out grades considers quality of recruits, quantity of recruits as compared to need, versatility, recruiting location, and intangibles.
Quarterback = A+
Hard to argue with one of the top two spread QB’s in the country who has looked good all season and fits the system well. I don’t think that Jones will ever see the field as a QB and I suspect he’ll just get buried on the depth chart whenever he switches to WR. But when you’re recruiting basically your 4th string QB this is the type of high-risk guy you go after.
Running Back = B
I struggled with this one because I’m not sure about how much potential these guys have. But White, Drake, and Hopkins do offer quantity and variety. It is also good to get players from Texas to keep a presence there for recruiting. And grabbing White when he had ties to MSU is good. Maybe B is a bit generous considering that I don’t think we drafted a future star, but they seem solid.
Slot Receiver = C-
Dileo is the only true slot receiver in the class since I’m counting Drake as a RB. Personally I like Dileo a lot for this spot and I think he’s the kind of gut you target when your depth chart is already pretty full at this position. But the upside is very low and when you’re strapped for bodies at other positions it is hard to grade this well. I would have graded it lower but this isn’t a position of need.
Outside Receiver = B
Much like running back I’m not sure there is a future all-big ten performer in this class. I don’t really know what we have in the Jackson-Miller-Robinson-Williamson group. There is some speed and size, but I don’t think any of us know whether they will be viable starters or stars in the future. For now I’m considering Jackson a WR and not a TE. It is mildly concerning that we took so many in this class without a star, though this was an area where depth was needed.
Tight End = D-
This was not an area of critical need given the relative youth on the roster and the fact that we rarely use two TE at the same time. And despite early success by Koger the position wasn’t utilized much down the stretch. So it isn’t a disaster that we didn’t sign anyone, but it would have been nice to grab one prospect. I suppose this is a good position to sacrifice a recruit when you need people at so many other positions, which is the only reason I didn’t give it an F. I also think there’s hope to convert Jackson to a receiving TE. And I think that Paskorz and Wilkens both played TE in high school and could convert if they don’t work out at DE in the future.
Offensive Line = D-
I almost gave this grade an F as well. I realize that we recruited a ton of guys the past two years and they all were able to redshirt, but I agree with Brian’s opinion that you never want to take fewer than 3 guys in a given class at OL. Now this also was a good place to sacrifice a signee in favor of another position of need, but having only one person scares me for what could happen in 2-3 years. I guess there’s hope they could still use the 28th scholarship on an OL, but that seems unlikely. This is the top need in the class of 2011.
Defensive Tackle = C+
Taking two guys at a position of need is pretty solid and I like the guys they have. But the two recruits that defected in 2009 were better prospects than the two we signed in 2010. And neither of these guys is a true space eater or pass rusher. The upside for these two is low. But getting two decent prospects in a bad year for DT recruits is solid. If the last scholarship goes to Beachum or Hankins this grade will improve some.
Defensive End = C+
Getting two recruits for this spot is a good number considering the depth chart, but neither projects as a star and both played some TE in high school. It would have been nice to get a stud at this position to replace Graham, but maybe Roh is going to be that guy and these two are destined to be role players.
Linebacker = C-
Kinard is a decent prospect and Furman could be very good. But this was a position of dire need and I don’t think we did enough to address the quality or quantity issues on the current roster. Marvin Robinson may in fact be a LB, but I’m going to consider him a safety for now. If you want to consider him a LB that bumps the grade slightly, but he still isn’t a MLB and that’s what we need most.
Cornerback = A
Neglect and bad luck at this position have been at the root of Michigan’s problem along with the safety position these past two years. The coaches did a great job of addressing this position with this class. There is a potential stud in Cullen Christian. You have a potential feel-good story in Witty who was able to get back on track and work hard to join the team. Then you have solid depth with Avery, Talbott, and Grimes. I’m sure we’ll hear about one or two of these names leaving the program in the next three years, but for now I’m excited. They will have ample opportunity to contribute at CB, could move to S down the road, or could turn into solid special team players.
Safety = B+
I’m excited about this safety class. Marvin Robinson may move to LB but I think he’s a potential multi-year starter either way. Vinopal seems to be a smart and fast safety who was the leader and all-state performer for a top team in a football fanatic state. I see him at worst being a special teams demon later in his career. And I think Carvin Johnson could be a very good sleeper. Like Vinopal he played for a very good team in a tough state and was their leader. He also seems to be smart and seems to be a true safety – not a converted CB or LB. When you combine all three of them I think you have versatility, depth, smarts, speed, talent, and potential.
Specialists = A
Replacing the best punter in Michigan history is going to be tough, but when you sign arguably the best punter in this class who has a brother already playing at a BCS school you’re doing pretty well for yourself.
Overall Offense Grade = C+
The offensive line situation is a bit scary and the rest was quantity over quality.
Overall Defense Grade = B-
Depth was addressed, overall talent is still in question.
Overall Grade = B-
The biggest needs were LB and DB and those were mostly addressed. They also signed a stud QB and P and depth in the defensive front seven. It is hard to give it a higher grade with only a small number of highly ranked players.
With the assumptions I made above we have one spot left in the class assuming no one backs out or is asked to back out based on academics or a gray shirt. Here is what I would like to see for that scholarship in order of preference:
- MLB (Tony Jefferson? Darrin Kitchens?)
- OL (Torrian Wilson?)
- S (Sean Parker? LaTwan Anderson? Rashad Knight?)
- DT (Beachum? Hankins?)
So where did I get things wrong? Where do you disagree? Let me know in the comments.
- Probably slated for a back-up role to Forcier (if he beats out DRob in fall camp) or a potential redshirt
Stephen Hopkins (EE)
Austin White (EE)
- With Vincent Smith the proposed nominal starter who is now unavailable until fall camp (at the earliest) this position is wide open; enrolling early helps both of their chances to make an impact
- most think White is destined for a redshirt but enrolling early at least gives him a chance to make an impact this season
Ricardo Miller (EE)
- The stud Florida turned Ann Arbor WR who we have heard about for some time now is about to set foot on the campus he loves and be a impact contributor this season
Between the 5 guys already on the depth chart, not to mention the TEs getting some playing time, its doubtful any of the freshman see significant time here.
Both Talbout and Ash (and possibly Hankins) are considered projects and not immediate impact players. Hopefully Martin, Campbell, and Sagesse can hold this stop down.
- With our linebacker situation (talent and depth) I hope he is good enough to play next year
Courtney Avery (EE)
- With Warren "messing around" at least 1 of these guys will be the starter and the others will also see signficant playing time
- our 2010 Defense (and team) hinge on the quick development of these guys
Marvin Robinson (EE)
- Depth chart is light here as well and both of these guys will see the field
- Robinson could also be in the mix for the Spinner position
- no one ahead of him on the depth chart at Punter
TOTALS: 11 contributors and potentially 3-4 starters
I search came back empty, so when I noticed Tim didn't mention anything about Davion Rogers possibly coming up for an official, I thought I'd post something. Apparently we were down there visiting his school recently.
I don't think anyone around here would be upset if we stole another recruit from West Virginia.
Proof that recruits - and their families - read what we write about them from our very own TOMVH:
Ray Vinopal - "I read what people say about me, I'm going to work my a** off to prove everyone of them wrong. I'm not scared."
In this case it serves as motivation, but in the bigger picture do we really attract players if they see the fan base tearing into recruits before they even step on the field?
Sam Webb addressed the issue at the end of his recruiting round up today. Good bit about the atmosphere of Cardinal Mooney football. Worth a listen. Nothing much else, UM making up ground with Ash and Hankins. Webb parrots Hankins saying the opening at Louisville may mean a move by Florida's D Coordinator, which could influence Hankins decision.
Scout has just upgraded Carvin Johnson. He was previously almost non-existent in their rankings. Now they have him as a three star. Did he really improve that much? Or did the "gurus" just mess up on this one in the first place? Could it be that they didn't rank him higher now is that it would be too embarrassing to admit not noticing a four star recruit? Maybe. Time will tell.