"Though I received no official response to these sophisticated and elegant tweets to the Illini Athletic Department, I would like to think that Beckman spent the evening prank calling everyone in Illinois named George McLellan and then ordering an absurd amount of hats off an internet haberdashery to hoard in his home's hat annex."
recruiting is legit yo
Me-date. If you're thinking about tearing your ACL, let me give you some advice: skip it and have some ice cream instead. I'm limping around vaguely now and gingerly moving my leg back and forth so that it doesn't get stuck in one position forever*, taking serious painkillers, and falling asleep all the damn time.
That's the main problem. Large parts of the past week that I thought I'd be working have been spent either asleep or doing this:
no srs I'm awake
I thought I was fine when I posted that UV a day after the surgery and then was somewhere between asleep and falling asleep for the next two days straight. Add in two to three hours of gingerly moving the leg around per day and despite things getting better productivity is still low. Bear with me. In my stead Ace and Seth and the Mathlete have been putting in yeoman work.
I'm experimenting with a prescription-painkiller-free day as we speak and it hasn't been too bad. Productivity can only increase from here.
*[That thing your mom said about your face? Yeah, that's apparently true for knees.]
Something something bride before the mall /BOOM SINGIN' MATT MILLEN'D. The Great Dantonio's latest dig:
Up the road in East Lansing, however, Michigan State shrugs off talk about the Wolverines regaining their super power status under Brady Hoke. The Spartans are confident of their own standing and future prospects.
"We're laying in the weeds," Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio says with a half smile. "We've beat Michigan the last four years. So where's the threat?"
This proves Dantonio is either A) the boss of this town and isn't afraid to let people know it or B) has passed the denial phase of his Kubler-Ross acceptance that the new boss is the same as the old boss and is settling into anger, with bargaining to come in a year or two. Hopefully this works out as well as The Hecklinski Incident—good name for a sci-fi novel there—did for him. The days where Michigan and Michigan State have anywhere near the same talent level are in the process of ending. Might take another year or two, but if I was MSU I'd make hay now.
How the sausage is made. ESPN has released three videos detailing their rankings process. Given the Mathlete's post earlier today, the fourth one will be entitled "…and then we all ignore all that and pile everyone from the SEC footprint into the top 50" but I appreciate the transparency. ESPN is planning on releasing a 2014 150 in… August. Yeesh.
ESPN says they have no regional dudes at all and farms out a particular set of position groups to scouts who do rankings for everyone at that spot, which does sound good. The Mathlete's methodology is suggestive but could have a systematic issue: since it relies extensively on all-conference teams and there's always an all-conference team even if you suck, ESPN cramming all those players from one region who go to one conference into the top end of their rankings would make them look worse even if they were right. The recent SEC-SEC-SEC business makes it at least plausible that ESPN is right. Adding another level of detail with NFL draft results would help sanity check that.
Poking around 2013 kids. Basketball is, that is. But apparently not Bo Ziegler, who told Inside The Hall that Michigan had not been much of a factor:
On other schools recruiting him hard:
“Pretty much the same schools that you heard about. Providence, Iowa State, Michigan State. Michigan was coming for a minute but I guess they’ve backed off. I’ll probably get a few more looks once we hit the AAU circuit.”
That is probably not a momentary oversight; Michigan has had a lot of time to think about this stuff. John Beilien, Y NO LIKE ZIEGLERS?
Instead, meet two new prospects:
- NJ combo guard Jaren Sina, a consensus four star who ranks in the bottom half of the top 100 everywhere. Sina committed to Alabama a while back before reconsidering. Beilein went out to watch him and the kid seems extremely interested. Pitt, Villanova, and Alabama are his biggest offers at the moment.
- NJ PF/SF Reggie Cameron. You know a guy is a Beilein recruit when he's listed at 6'7" and starts his lists of strengths off with "my jump shot." Other evaluations list him at 6'5" so it's up for debate as to whether he can be a stretch four to give Michigan that Smotrycz option or if he's pretty much a wing and wing only. Dave Telep called him a "hybrid 4-man"($) who plays small forward on offense and guards bigs on D; his stroke was praised. I hope Michigan's done with 6'5" power forwards, but maybe he grows some. Cameron is usually in the 100-150 range on recruiting sites.
Michigan could take both these guys as long as someone goes to the NBA next year, which is a near-certainty. Sina could provide minutes at the one and two, Cameron the three and maybe the four or two.
Meanwhile in the class of 2013, Rivals revamped its basketball rankings for that year. Irvin slid a little to #63; Walton and Donnal rose a little to #72 and #116. Irvin's down six spots, Walton up 15, Donnal up 8.
Ahem. Just going to leave this here.
It's in the store. Consume!
Whoah, whoa-oh oh oh oh. We own Penn State. The halycon era:
You know this already but I was asleep so my tab is still open. ND's Aaron Lynch, who you may remember being terrifying last year, is leaving ND. Bwahaha. Unfortunately, Brian Kelly recruited his balls off on the DL in that class so there's plenty of talent left behind. None of them were quite Lynch, who I remember coming in to the ND-MSU game and running around MSU OL like they were not there. Not having to face him the next three years is a lot like seeing Michael Floyd transfer after his freshman year. Which would have been cool.
Also old: this. Mary Sue Coleman said Michigan wouldn't be putting the Fab Five banners up, causing a twitter hissy from Jalen Rose I can't be bothered to go find again. No school is ever going to put up a banner for a game the NCAA made them vacate. That is a banner that says "congratulations: you technically weren't at the Final Four!"
Surely no one can be surprised by this. The only topic more tired than Fab Five banners is the #1 jersey, and no one's—oh hell, we're talking about this again. For the love of cripes, just offer it to LaQuon Treadwell and let's be done with this. The only thing this Braylon scholarship thing has done is made it so no one wears the number.
Etc.: Freshman RB TJ Yeldon goes ham at Alabama spring game (against the second team D). Denardfluff. I'll probably write more about this at a later juncture, but here's a Smart Football post on the future of the NFL being more shotgun high-tempo stuff. I don't mind a pro-style offense if it's actually a pro-style offense and not what a pro-style offense used to be in 1970. More Smart Football: the monster defense of old and its resurgence.
McGary. McGary DROP. MCGARY MAD. MCGARY SMASH. MCGARY SAY THINGS ABOUT HATERZ THAT IGNORE THE USEFUL SOCIETAL EFFECTS THAT RESULT FROM DISAPPROVING THINGS THAT ARE WACK. BUT THAT OKAY IF MCGARY SMASH.
Patrick Kugler, Chris Fox, Taco Charlton and Shane Morris
You may be aware that Michigan's off to a start unprecedented in the recruiting rankings era not only for them but for the Big Ten. Hints of this include relentless "Hello" posts on the front page, your strange desire to actually watch recruits' highlight reels, and Michigan State fans linking a post I wrote a while back scoffing at an MSU class that would beat Michigan four straight years.
The only other area school to rack up so many commitments so quickly is Penn State, which has piled their classes nearly full from time to time over the last decade. Even they haven't been as aggressive as Michigan. Three years ago they had 11 guys by the end of May and 15 by July. Michigan is sitting at 15 barely a month after the 2012 class signed. Their other notably quick-filling class was 2004, when they had 16 of 25 guys by August. Back then that was super quick; nowadays that would hardly raise an eyebrow.
Since Michigan's guys are almost without exception highly touted, this has caused mostly rejoicing in the Michigan fanbase. Rivals have responded with various binky-clutchings and hopeful narratives. There's also a certain portion of the Michigan fanbase that is concerned that Michigan is locking themselves in too quickly. They probably have an entire room full of various insurance contracts covering everything from dog attacks to the zombie apocalypse, but they exist. Occasionally they email me.
Here's a brief primer on why you should be happy Michigan has crammed its class full of four stars by mid-March. In retrospect this post is probably unnecessary.
This Is A Bad Idea Because Penn State Or Texas
Early Texas commit Sergio Kindle can lift a car and plays in the NFL. Early Penn State commit Austin Hinton was a 6'2" offensive lineman. He does not play in the NFL.
The Penn State counterpoint is obvious: look at the profiles these guys have. Michigan has one recruit (Khalid Hill) who isn't on at least one of the early top 250/300s. They have enough four-star sorts to guarantee themselves a top 5 class already, on every service. Nine commits list an offer from Alabama, Ohio State, and/or Notre Dame, and that's without accounting for Shane Morris, who committed too early for heavy hitters to offer him, and the likelihood others would have picked up offers from the above if they weren't clawing their way into Michigan's class.
In contrast, a lot of Penn State's early guys were guys like Jed Hill*, Austin Hinton, and Dan Lawlor, low-to-mid three stars and saw their careers play out like they were that. PSU's '04 class saw just two four stars among the 15 who committed before their senior years, and most were barely that: Rivals gave 10 of them their lowest 3-star ranking or worse. It wasn't much different in '09. Three of the 16 early commits had four stars. They were outnumbered by guys who finished with two stars. This isn't a comparison.
Texas is. For years they've piled touted recruits like cordwood on their junior day and pursued some select out of state kids after locking up half or more of their class by this time every year. After falling on some hard times, they fired a bunch of coaches, brought in new blood, and took not one commit at their revamped junior day. A new day has dawned at Texas, which has only thirteen commits in mid-March.
Meanwhile on Mack Brown's Wikipedia page…
…five top five finishes in ten years once Brown's recruiting took hold in 2001 and no final ranking lower than #13 until the recent Davis/Gilbert implosion. If adopting Mack's deal with the devil means we'll get complacent and pay the piper in 11 years, tell me where to sign.
*[Googling for images of PSU recruits past who did not work out reveals that Hill is now a BEEFCAKE model. I pass this long in the spirit of knowledge and an effort to increase female readership.]
We Don't Have Enough Information On These Guys
I asked all the guys who applied for Ace's job a question: "why do Michigan's recruits tend to slide when rankings are revised?" It was admittedly a bit of a trick question since the mention of Michigan implies that is relevant information; it's not.
I think only one person gave me the right answer, which is that touted recruits are expected to drop because they're already rated in the top 1% of high school football players. The threat of moving down is much greater than the potential to move up. As the year goes on, kids will show up at camps or blow up in their senior seasons and get placed above Michigan's current commits, and they'll fall for no other reason. When Ondre Pipkins surges to five-star status he slides every other recruit in the nation down a slot. That's why Scout is reasonable to give only their top 250 four stars right now when their entire 300 will have four at the end of the year—they're saying that the guys at the end are likely to slide off as unknowns or late bloomers leap ahead of them. On average, Michigan's committed recruits should see their rankings slide in the 10 months before next February.
That said, Texas recruiting class rankings the past ten years: #2, #3, #3, #5, #14, #5, #5, #20 (just 15 kids), #10, #15, #1. Texas's rankings have been depressed by relatively small sizes since they don't oversign—for example, when they finished #15 in 2003 they were second to Michigan in average star ranking*. If the Longhorns have seen their class rankings backslide because they're jumping the gun, it hasn't been by much. The on-field results didn't suffer until they encountered the kind of complacency bred by wild success.
Meanwhile, what are Michigan's coaches going to find out about Michigan's recruits before their senior seasons? Nothing. Recruits will go to a bunch of camps over the summer that college coaches can't attend and rankings will go up and down. There's one event at which coaches actually get new information about the guys they're recruiting: summer camp. The thing is, Michigan got most of the kids in the area into their camp last year. It's now more a tool for the subsequent class. Michigan had Kyle Bosch on campus a half-dozen times before he committed. They've got nothing new to learn until September.
*[That class: Burgess, Woodley, Crable, Hall, Long, Kraus, Jerome Jackson, Ryan Mundy, Brandent Englemon, and guys who didn't play. It finished #17 in the overall Rivals rankings, which is nuts. No one takes opportunity cost into account.]
Michigan Expects These Guys To Be Committed In February
A favorite of opponent fans. Decommits are increasing at about the same pace early commitments are and inevitably a guy or two is going to find that he fits better somewhere else. Last year Michigan lost commits from Caleb Stacey, Anthony Standifer, and Pharaoh Brown. Standifer was probably an academic thing since Notre Dame turned him down when he tried to commit a few months later.
In their place, Michigan signed air after a string of late recruitments went against them… and still lassoed a class somewhere between 5 and 10 in the country. If they experience the same attrition rate next year, they'll probably replace the departures with decent three-star sorts or better… and a class solidly top five. Decommits are more common, but they are not common.
Michigan's Going To Miss Out On Emerging Seniors
The most fun is when the person making these arguments makes this one back to back with the previous one. It's true that there's going to be a four star or two who emerges and gets snapped up by MSU or Iowa or something and goes on to be a thorn in Michigan's side. When you've got guys who you think are nationally elite already in your class, that's worth a shrug. Also, when someone falls out of the class or there's more attrition than expected, Michigan will have the room to take a Willie Henry or a Frank Clark or a Dennis Norfleet.
This Doesn't Matter Because Michigan's Decaying Old Staff Had The Worst Possible Transition To Its Kind-Of-Incompetent New Staff, Operated With No Upperclass Quarterbacks For Three Years, And Hired Greg Robinson
That's the ticket, Michigan State fans.
Recruiting good players is good. I probably didn't need to write this post.
Tim provides the day-to-day but we haven't had a 1000 foot view of Michigan's recruiting in a while. Here's that.
Ondre Pipkins, Kyle Kalis, James Ross
With the addition of Ondre Pipkins Michigan is down to about four open scholarships and one vast gaping hole that really needs filling, wide receiver. In the opinion of the internet, nose tackle has a fairly large hole that still needs a good bit of filling, too.
Let's dig up UFR alter ego for a quizzing:
How many players will end up in the class and how will they get to that number?
Michigan's current roster features 18 players with junior eligibility, including Stonum, 20 with sophomore eligibility, and 26 with freshman eligibility. That's 64 players, leaving Michigan with 21 spots for next year.
Michigan will have the option of bringing back the following players for fifth years, or more to the point, not bringing them back: Mike Cox, Roy Roundtree, Terrance Robinson, Brandon Moore, Patrick Omameh, Ricky Barnum, Elliot Mealer, Rocko Khoury, Kenny Demens, JT Floyd, and Jordan Kovacs.
Most of those guys are contributors. Cox, Robinson, Floyd, Mealer, and Moore could be offered a firm handshake if needed. A couple of those guys will emerge into guys Michigan needs to keep around. Moore will be the only upperclass TE on the roster other than Ricardo Miller, who's going to need a lot of bulk if he's going to contribute. Michigan needs upperclass OL, the RB situation is unsettled, and any warm body in the secondary is something to latch onto with claws. It seems like they'll get two, maybe three of the necessary spots by not offering fifth years.
The other two will resolve themselves in the next six months. Losing two or three guys between now and Signing Day would be somewhat low amount of attrition for anyone, let alone a team radically changing its offense and defense.
What do they do with the last four spots?
IA WR Amara Darboh – via Public Paul & Media
They clearly need at least one WR after taking none last year and seeing the previous year's class whittled down to just Jerald Robinson and Drew Dileo. One of the other three spots appears ticketed for a sixth OL.
The last two are wild cards. It seems like they've thrown in the towel on acquiring another quarterback and the only running back they're seriously involved with is Bri'onte Dunn, an Ohio State commit. They've stepped up the chase for cornerbacks Armani Reeves and Yuri Wright recently. Even if that has something to do with Terry Richardson's wandering eye, both Wright and Reeves have said Michigan had a change of heart and wants another corner in the class.
And then there's NT, which currently has Ondre Pipkins but is still desperately thin. In-state prospect Danny O'Brien is a consensus four star who has all manner of folk working on him; if there's a spot still he's at least 50-50 to take it.
So your final four or five spots:
- WR. As of two days ago this was a murky area with some vague options, but now Michigan appears to lead for IA WR Amara Darboh and CA WR Jordan Payton, both four stars. So let's make this one of them.
- WR. Probably the other. If not, a generic three star we haven't heard about yet.
- OL. With Jordan Diamond getting a little fuzzy about things this could be any one of a half-dozen guys, all of whom are highly rated. Likely to be another tackle but Josh Garnett, one of the top ranked guards in the country, is moving up his visit.
- DT/CB. Everyone wants the DT, I think, but Michigan is apparently recruiting corners again. Michigan's in the top two for Wright and top three for Reeves, though Reeves is set to announce and it looks like Penn State. Complicating factor: Wright wants to announce at the AA game.
- DT/CB/RB. If they get a fifth or sixth spot chances are they'll focus on skill position players, a second NT (if they did not already acquire one), or another corner.
What class rank will Michigan end up with?
This will vary by site, as it appears Scout and 247 are higher on the class than Rivals and ESPN. Michigan's currently #1 in Scout's rankings, fourth in Rivals's and fifth in ESPN's. (ESPN's does not reflect the addition of Pipkins. ESPN thinks Pipkins is meh, though, so if they got a bump it wouldn't be a huge one.)
We can actually calculate Michigan's final score if they close out the class with Darboh, Payton, Diamond, and O'Brien, which is realistic. Scout assigns points like so:
Team Rankings are a math formula that based on a player's rating and his rankings. 5-Star is a rating, No. 1 quarterback is his ranking.
5 Star = 200 points
4 Star = 120 points
3 Star = 40 points
2 Star = 20 points
The No. 1 player at a position is worth 100 points, counting down to the last ranked player at his position to 0.
For Example, assuming Scout ranks 100 quarterbacks.
5-Star, No. 1 QB = 300 points
4-Star, No. 10 QB = 210 points
3-Star, No. 50 QB = 90 points
2-Star, No. 75 QB = 45 points
The Team Rankings are compiled of the Top 25 players per class. Some teams will over-sign, but only 25 count towards the Team Rankings.
Diamond is a five-star and the #10 OT. The rest are four-stars. O'Brien is the #13 DT, Darboh the #23 WR, and Payton the #12 WR. Collectively they're worth 902 points. Some guy with three stars worth around 90 points will get the boot because of the 25-per-class limit. This would give Michigan about 5800 points. Last year this would have been good enough to tie for second with Florida State. (Previous comparisons are probably not valid since scores seem much lower overall.)
Other services will probably be a bit less generous but if they finish strong it's easily a top five class, which will spur yet another round of Brady Hoke grape peeling in the media, which will help recruiting down the line unless those pesky game things get in the way.
I don't know and don't want to know why it turned up pounds of shirtless man meat on page 1, but add "OHL" to things you should never search for on Google Images. "Existentialism" on the other hand, is quite entertaining.
Stacked somewhere in between the Oshawa Generals and Bowling Green was a letter with a block M in the corner. It contained a brochure for the University, a questionnaire, and the contact information for the coaches. Turns out, I had not been emailing coach Berenson at all, but now I had his real address. I emailed him and got a response from an assistant coach. He told me to call him.
WHAT?! I can call these people?! How was this not explained to me before? I had never bothered to email any other school and since the player must initiate contact, they couldn't reach out to me.
You don't know if Michigan will even offer you because it's too early on NCAA's schedule for anything like certainty. You are surrounded by people who want to see you in the OHL. You are drafted, and given a contract:
I sat down with the GM, who knew that I was considering college. He basically explained to me the benefits of the CHL, the education packages, and the unique experience of being a young local celebrity. He was very polite about it, but told me that if I was signing, he wanted it done within 2 weeks.
The diaries were blessed again with the concluding Parts II and III of JimLahey's epic personal tale that illustrates just how difficult it really is for hockey talent to cross the border, even for those who desperately want to play NCAA. Well written and poignant, with everything from twists to cliffhangers to a surprise ending, its plot is worthy of an episode of Law & Order. Except it happened to this guy. This guy: Diarist of the Week (again).
There was only one other diary this week, but it's a good 'un: ebv returned to do another analysis of correlation between defensive talent and performance, and also defensive experience and performance. Ganking charts:
Experience / Talent:
He used the Rivals depth charts so that's guys on the two-deep, not the starters. The comments had a lot of suggestions, and this overlaps with them, but I think there are a couple of factors that really need analysis more than average age and star-rating of two-deep:
- Size of classes over 5-year period. A 3-star who made the two-deep out of 108 potential defensive players recruited is probably going to be more qualified than a 3-star who made the two-deep out of 40 defensive players recruited.
- Run it again with just starters. The two-deep still includes a lot of guys who might not be ready to play, because the scholly limit and dress limit and whatnot. If the great teams have a 5-star junior or senior starting and two hyped freshmen backing them up, it won't show with an average age.
- Gimme a "worst starter" breakdown too. Xcalibur once tried to test that when Michigan was rolling out Kovacs at free safety and every team we faced began running most of its plays directly at Kovacs. If there's a "weak link" effect for defenses, that will throw off your performance metrics for the team defense.
- Related to above: Distribution?
5th yr Sr Sr / RS Jr Jr / RS So So / RS Fr True Fr Avg. Team A 3 5 5 5 4 2.91 Team B 9 1 1 1 10 2.91
You are looking at teams with very big differences. Team B can field a much more experienced starting 11, but any injury or bust or low-rated older guy means a true freshman is likely starting. Team A's distribution is far more likely to be seeing players in their middle years handling significant time. You can do the same thing with star ratings:
5-star 4-star 3-star 2-star Walk-On Avg. Team A 3 5 5 5 4 2.91 Team B 9 1 1 1 10 2.91
Any busts from B and you are starting a 2-star or a Walk-On. Distribution among the starters would tell us if there's a weak link effect too.
After the break (in honor of jg2112's poor scrolling wheel) I realign the NHL and suggest a playoff system.
development: Boren does not haz it. brilliant photoshop via TTB
Development. A killer post on BHGP analyses schools' NFL draft performance relative to what you'd expect given their recruiting rankings. The conclusions:
- Stars matter. No surprise. Guys with five stars are more than four times more likely to be drafted than those with three.
- Michigan is average. They've had 21 draftees and expected 20.6. This places them 29th amongst 66 BCS teams. I'd bet Michigan would have done very well if this study focused on a time period five years earlier; in my imagination their "development ratio" starts off near OSU's, gradually drops as the OL degrades late in the Carr era, and implodes in the aftermath of massive attrition under Rodriguez.
- USC, Ohio State, and Iowa outperform. Interesting diversity at the top, as the #1 school is also the #1 recruiting school—impressive—and three through five are Iowa, Cal, and Wake Forest. Clemson is sixth, further proving that the Tigers have been the worst-coached BCS team of the last decade.
- Duke sucks. Duke sucks.
- U-S-BIGTEN. I'm going to gank this chart:
Rank Conference Recruits Drafted BCS Expectation Development Ratio 1 Big Ten 172 150.4 114% 2 Pac 12 166 152.0 109% 3 Big East 94 87.8 107% 4 ACC 183 177.2 103% 5 SEC 216 223.8 96% 6 Big 12 157 189.7 82% 7 Non-BCS 121 295.4 40%
If you're interested in going to the NFL, avoid the Big 12 and head north. Also, I'm guessing that non-BCS number suggest that Rivals' drilldown rankings (e.g., three stars being rated 5.5, 5.6, or 5.7) have some merit.
- U-S-RICHROD. West Virginia has the highest "win ratio" amongst BCS teams despite not sending anyone to the league, and while that's an artifact of being the best team in the Big East over the period surveyed WHY DID YOU HIRE GERG AARGH
I have a slight beef: study author UpUpDownDown looks at these numbers strictly through the lens of player development. He breaks conference numbers down further into offense and defense, and then further breaks down offense into skill and offensive line, finding the Big Ten murders everyone on the OL and on D while the Big 12 struggles immensely in those two categories. This is attributed to playstyle, specifically the Big 12's addiction to passing spreads.
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.
In any case, it's a really interesting post you should read all of.
We have done derped. We have lost our superiority when it comes to not erecting embarrassing billboards:
One: Paul Reiser probably came up with the text. Two: it's on I-94, which goes from Canada to Indiana without even brushing up against Ohio. Three: it's derp enough to put up a billboard after you win something. It's extra super derp to do so after not winning since 2003. Five derps out of five.
Recruiting digression. Brady Hoke : linebackers :: Rich Rodriguez : slot receivers. Michigan now has eight in two classes and speculation naturally turns to where these guys all fit. Specifically, can any of them play somewhere else?
The answer for all four in this class appears to be "no" unless Bolden or Jenkins-Stone pack on a lot of pounds and end up at WDE. Ringer's six-foot and Ross six-one and they'll both end up around 230. On a football field guys that size play LB, FB, or RB and nothing else. Even Bolden and RJS are stretches at DE. Those guys are linebackers one and all.
Last year's class, if you don't remember:
- MI QB(!)/LB Desmond Morgan.
- TX LB Kellen Jones
- OH LB Antonio Poole
- OH LB/TE Frank Clark
According to Rivals, none of these guys is more than 6'2" and Morgan is the heaviest at 225—the others are all at 210. No one's mentioned safety for any. So… these are all linebackers too unless Clark swaps to TE, which is going to be at least as crowded as LB if Ron Thompson signs up to be the fourth tight end in the last two classes.
Someone's going to lose out and get flipped to fullback; other than that, all these guys are linebackers for life. That gives Michigan 13 next year, which is a bit excessive for three starting spots. Or at least it would be if we weren't currently enduring a wasteland at the position. I'd guess the 2013 class is homeruns or one random three star picked up late.
Further recruiting digression. The top ten kids in the state are probably Ross, RJS, Devin Funchess, Mario Ojemudia, Aaron Burbridge, Dennis Norfleet, Terry Richardson, Ron Thompson, Dan O'Brien, and Matt Godin. (Ben Braden might be in there somewhere, too.) Michigan has three, is presumed to be the heavy leader for two more (Godin and Thompson) and is in a short group of leaders for Ojemudia, Richardson, and O'Brien. If the chips fall the right way Michigan could get 7 or 8 of the Michigan top ten, which is not only far better than Rodriguez ever did but would be better than Carr's best instate efforts by some distance.
Part of that is it seems like Michigan is producing better football players these days—everyone in that top ten save Norfleet has a Michigan offer, or would have one if his grades were better (Burbridge). That never happened under Carr. A big chunk appears to be Hoke doing work.
Too good to be true. Red might have believed he'd get his whole team back after exit interviews but Mark Burns of the Daily has responded to/fueled/confirmed rumors that Brandon Burlon is gonzo. Some speculation is that he's seriously pisssed off you guys that he was passed over in favor of Clare for the Frozen Four games.
Losing Burlon hurts, but at least Michigan seems well-covered on the back end. Clare will draw into the lineup regularly and the spot opened up by Langlais's graduation will be filled by incoming freshman Brennan Serville, a guy rising up NHL draft boards. He should go in the middle rounds.
Meanwhile in hockey news of a bizarre and speculative nature, Mike Babcock's son is winding his way from the USHL and crazy rumors that Michigan will take him and Babcock will coach him after Red leaves have duly cropped up. Yost Built collects those.
The Appalachian State debacle was my third day on campus. My freshman tickets sat me in Section 16, far away from my fellow students. I sat next to a white-haired old man--whose natural hair color might've been blue--and his son each week. My enduring memories of that first game are conveniently sparse; my first memory is of Chad Henne zipping a passing to Mike Massey in the opening drive. I saw it all from my bird's eye seat in Row 96 of Section 16; it was perfect and logical, a rational manifestation of our pre-season top 5 ranking. Then, the defense took the field.
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.