I thought that myself when I read that article that talked about a Data Scientist(tm)
2006 recruiting class
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.
Michigan's 2006 class will be a small one. And this year, we really mean that. The 2005 class was also supposed to be small, but a huge amount of attrition boosted it up to 23 recruits. Next year a huge amount of attrition might get Michigan up into the mid-teens. The departures of Lawrence Reid, Joey Sarantos, Ernest Shazor, and Alex Ofili leaves Michigan's projected senior class with just 10 players. Michigan is at the 85 scholarship limit at the moment.
That number will probably go up, perhaps sooner than later due to the uncertain status of Larry Harrison. Additionally, Michigan has three potential early-entry NFL draft candidates in CB Leon Hall, OLB/DE Lamarr Woodley, and WR Steve Breaston. It's doubtful any of those three players leave after this year but not entirely out of the realm of possibility. Some players will not return for optional fifth years, others may transfer to schools with better opportunities for playing time. Expect a class of around fifteen players.
Michigan will focus heavily on QBs, LBs, and DBs in this class. Expect a smaller than usual offensive line class and only a couple players at the offensive skill positions.
A Note on "Stars": These are my guesstimates. Players don't have stars associated with them yet. When the recruiting services add them I'll adjust my ratings. (Update 6/1: Rivals has posted their ratings; still waiting on Scout. Rankings will be an amalgam of both with half-stars assigned as needed.)
A Note on Premium Info: No illict sharing of said material will appear on this site. Players are listed with interested schools in their profiles; this information is public. Commitments are by definition public. Any assertions as to schools in the mix, decision dates, or leaders I will back up with links to public information.
This is a work in progress, obviously, that will be updated a lot.
Note: All the updates were pushing down the board way down; I've shifted them to the end. The last two or three updates will still be displayed in this space.
Be sure to read the official mgoblog recruiting philosophy before committing suicide over anything you read here.
Needs: Michigan will take a QB in this class and pit him against Jason Forcier when Henne departs. Whoever Michigan picks up will have the opportunity to start as a redshirt sophomore so there is a good chance that an Elite-11 type QB will come aboard.
Update 6/29: The commitment of David Cone complicates things. Will Michigan really be content with one sleeper quarterback who runs the option in high school? Not to knock Cone--a camp offer with things seemingly looking good for FL super Tim Tebow indicates that Loeffler and company like Cone a lot--but he carries a much higher risk factor than a quarterback in a passing offense. Michigan will continue to recruit Tebow and the other quarterbacks with offers and will take a commitment if they can, but guys like Hartline or Hakes are probably S.O.L.
|David Cone||GA||***||Michigan||mgoblog on Cone here, team won GA state championship|
Committed Elsewhere: Zach Frazier (ND), Matt Stafford (Georgia), Sam Bradford(OU), Kevan Smith(Pitt), Jeremy Ricker(MD), Pat Devlin(Miami), Jake Locker(UW).
Running Back / Fullback
Needs: Almost none. Mike Hart, Max Martin, and Kevin Grady are all underclassmen and should form a Three Headed Monster of Doom next year. Apparently, three-star signee Mister Simpson is being brought in as a tailback as well. Michigan will probably take a single RB next year just to have someone.
Update 12/20: Carlos Brown's shock commitment likely closes the door for anyone who was considering Michigan previously.
|Carlos Brown||GA||****||Michigan||Duuude, shocker. MGoBlog on Brown; Rivals #32|
|Brandon Minor||VA||****||Michigan||people like want him and stuff; MGoBlog on Minor.|
Committed Elsewhere: James Aldridge (ND), Chris Wells (OSU), Luke Schmidt(ND).
Needs: Michigan has an embarrassment of riches at wide reciever after a two-year run of top-100 playmakers. This could be a year where Michigan forgoes a wideout entirely, but they'll probably take at least one. I would expect two only if a player they can't say no to wants to come aboard.
|Greg Mathews||FL||****||Michigan||Rivals100 (#91); camped all week; Orlando Sentinel article; verbal now soft as he has visted OSU and will visit FSU but seems likely to stick.|
Needs: Freakazoid athlete Carson Butler came in last year and Mike Massey has impressed as a redshirt freshman, so Michigan may not pursue tight ends heavily this year.
Committed Elsewhere: Nate Byham(Pitt), Dedrick Epps(Miami).
Needs: Michigan signed a second consecutive bumper crop of offensive linemen last year. With nine recruits over the last two years and a small class projected for 2006, Michigan will be very selective with its OL recruiting. Two or three players will likely come aboard, probably a tackle and a couple of interior linemen.
Update 4/10: Michigan will be taking at most one additional interior lineman after Boren's commit. With the depth they've built at G and C be assured that anyone who commits before February will be a prospect the coaches think very highly of.
|Justin Boren (G/C)||OH||****.5||Michigan||Rivals 100(#39), Scout 100(#28), mgoblog on Boren here; brief Scout interview.|
|Perry Dorrestein(T)||IL||***||Michigan||Scout article.|
|Steve Schilling||WA||*****||Michigan||high school nickname: "Wolverines." Helmet: Winged, Rivals 100(#25), Scout 100 (#4), Seattle Times article; Seattle PI article; News Tribune article; decides Friday, has dropped USC; Rivals "Breakdown" segment.|
Needs: Michigan pulled four top-100 jumbo athletes slated for the defensive line last year and will probably go easy this year. Marques Slocum and Terrance Taylor seem to be natural DTs. Eugene Germany and James McKinney are already around 270 pounds and could slide inside. Michigan may take one defensive tackle.
|Adam Patterson||SC||****||Michigan||Rivals 100(#91); Times-Democrat article; The State.com article.|
|Jason Kates||PA||***.5||Michigan||PSU offer; Lemming says he will commit to M.|
Committed Elsewhere: Jason Pinkston(Pitt).
Needs: Michigan will be looking for an edge rusher this year in the mold of a Woodley. Micah Johnson of Kentucky is a likely five-star who fits that profile very well. He actually plays MLB for his high school team at about 260.
|Adam Patterson||SC||****||Michigan||Rivals 100(#91); Times-Democrat article; The State.com article.|
|John Ferrara||NY||***||Michigan||mgoblog on Ferrara; NY Daily News article.|
|Greg Banks||CO||***||Michigan||Scout article; January enrollee.|
|Quintin Woods||MI||***||Michigan||Did not play football until senior year, but made quite an impression when he did. Scout article; Free Press article.|
Needs: Major. Scott McClintock and Pierre Woods will graduate next year. Lawrence Reid's career came to an unexpected end this offseason due to a degenerative neck injury. The only true linebacker Michigan signed last year was three-star Brandon Logan, who is undersized and far from a sure thing. Michigan will probably take three or even four linebackers this year. Fortunately, it appears that Michigan is in superb shape for a number of big-timmahs.
Update 6/29: With Mixon, Graham, and Patilla in the fold Michigan is either completely or almost done with linebackers this year. Michigan won't be offering any marginal prospects but would probably take a commit from someone like Jeremiha Hunter, Josh Tatum, or DE/LB Micah Johnson since Patilla and Graham could potentially play other positions (WR and DE, respectively).
|Brandon Graham||MI||*****||Michigan||Rivals 100(#19), Scout 100(#12), #1 player in Michigan; DetNews article; Rivals "Breakdown."|
|Cobrani Mixon||OH||****||Michigan||Scout 100(#84), Cinci Colerain(Mister Simpson, Connor Smith). mgoblog on Mixon here.|
|Obi Ezeh||MI||***||Michigan||ATH FB, commitment article.|
Committed Elsewhere: Eric Gordon(MSU).
Needs: Michigan signed three corners last year, one of whom--Chris Richards--will greyshirt, but that doesn't mean they won't be after more this year. Michigan hasnt recruited a blue-chip CB since Marlin Jackson. They'll be after a big fish this year.
Needs: With Nic Harris' last second switch, Michigan failed to sign a player at safety last year. Michigan will go hard after a couple this year, and are in good position for a couple of top national prospects in Myron Rolle and Taylor Mays. Rivals' preseason AA John Maddox is also a possibility; he attends Philadelphia West Catholic with signee Marques Slocum.
Update 4/5: Maddox has turned into a WR recruit and all-everything Myron Rolle has let it be known that he wants to be recruited at corner, leaving the safety position pretty thin on numbers. WR recruit Jamar Hornsby may play safety as well.
|Steve Brown||IN||****||Michigan||Rivals 100(#65), Scout 100(#92), ATH CB, Scout article, Scout commit article, first HS game.|
|Jonas Mouton||CA||****.5||Michigan||Rivals 100(#45), Scout 100(#42), has scheduled official, M in top 3; Scout article; Rivals' Greg Biggins says he's comin'.|
Committed Elsewhere: Taylor Mays(USC), Antwine Perez(USC).
Needs: Garret Rivas will be a junior next year. Michigan was looking around for kickers this year to walk on and accept a scholarship after his graduation. If one of those kickers accepts the partial walk-on offer, Michigan won't take anyone. If not, Michigan may look around for someone who will accept a similar arrangement. Punter is taken care of by ZOLTAN THE INCONCEIVABLE.
|Bryan Wright (K)||OH||**||Michigan||Full scholarship offer; mgoblog on Wright; article.|
Update 2/18: Added a bunch of tables. Should finish the remainder soon. New names all over. Definite assertions that Michigan leads for PA linebackers Dorin Dickerson and Jeremiah Hunter and is co-leader with UVA for PA CB Darrin Walls. Questionable assertion based on message board speculation that M and UVA lead for OH DL Antonio Reed.
Update 2/20: Tabled the rest of the charts. Added schools and notes for many prospects; still working on completing that. Added speculative M lead for Justin Boren based on NDNation poster claiming to be classmate (thanks to reader Jon Chavez for the tip).
Update 2/21: Moved Brandon Graham to commitments, added GA WR Chris Slaughter, NJ CB AJ Wallace, IN LB AJ Edds, NJ S Pha'Terrell Washington, and a few others.
Update 5/5: Added QB prospect Jeremy Ricker, removed two ND commits, moved several players to different positions.
Update 5/6: Added WR Jamar Hornsby, RB Anthony Elzy, DT Jason Pinkston. Noted that GA leads for WR Chris Slaughter. Noted that USC and M are listed as co-leaders for WR Andrey Baskin. Added link to some free video of WR Menelik Holt.
Update 5/8: Added CB Steve Brown and LB Thaddeus Gibson. Added speculative co-lead for QB Tim Tebow. Noted that PSU leads for WR John Maddox. Also noted that Gibson is down to UM and OSU.
Update 5/9: Added FB Luke Schmidt, OL Matt Carufel, OL Bartley Webb, LB Eric Gordon, LB Travis Goethel, LB Toryan Smith, CB Brantwon Bowser. Linked to free Demarco Murray video. Asserted that TE Dedrick Epps will likely commit at camp.
Update 5/11:Added DT Aundre Henderson, DT Jason Kates, LB Akeem Hebron, asserted that Justin Boren should commit within a couple weeks. Added link to Mitch Mustain's website (free video). Linked to Tebow's Elite 11 inclusion.
Update 5/13:Stopped pretending it was still April, added DE Brandon Spikes, CB Jovani Chappel, who I thought was already listed. Removed WR Wesley Lyons, QB Pat Devlin, QB Matt Stafford. Changed Cobrani Mixon's status after a scout article indicated that he was favoring the SEC. Added a bunch of scout links (suggest you look at the Steve Schilling pic--right out of Bo-era UM). Noted that FL leads for another QB--if he commits Tebow will head elsewhere. Changed Justin Boren's status to committed.
Update 5/16:Added note that Michigan leads for KY DT Corey Peters based on post from KY Rivals guru Jeff Drummond. Used header of Scout article to assert that Nebraska leads for CA WR Menelik Holt.
Update 5/19: Removed Jamie Cumbie after referenced article said he was down to ND and Clemson. Changed Cobrani Mixon's status again after free Scout article. Linked to Micah Johnson article in which he does not list Michigan among his top 7(!) schools. Bother.
Update 5/20: Removed IL WR Chris James after he committed to Illinois. Good get for Zook. Added note that AJ Wallace will attend summer camp. Added OH WR Robby Paris, OK QB Sam Bradford, GA DE Jermaine Cunningham. Removed QB Justin Burke; his profile no longer shows Michigan.
Update 5/27: Removed IN FB Luke Schmidt (ND commit), re-added PA QB Pat Devlin after Michigan people started talking about him again. Not to go all sour grapes, but I doubt Schmidt had an offer w/ the small class and a scholarship fullback last year. Added CA LB Josh Tatum.
Update 5/29: Removed OK QB Sam Bradford(OK), AZ DE Jermaine Williams(ASU), VA WR Percy Harvin(not listing UM), NJ TE Joe Torchia(haven't heard anything about him in forever). Added PA TE Nate Bynum. Changed status of Darrin Walls based on several article titles--an old fashioned Michigan-Notre Dame battle now.
Update 6/1: Rivals has released its initial five stars and top 100, and everyone's notes have been updated to reflect the new information. There are still a few "4.5" stars out there for guys who will probably be Scout 5-stars but not Rivals 5-stars; Scout usually gives out maybe 20 additional five-star ratings. I also rearranged them so the players are more or less in ranking order. Moved DeMarco Murray to RB from CB, Steve Brown to S from CB, Brandon Spikes from DE to LB.
Update 6/2: Linked to a very nice free Scout article on CA LB Josh Tatum. Says he has a top seven but declares that he will definitely visit three schools and there's a "90 percent chance" he'll visit Michigan and Oklahoma. Sounds like a top five to me. Normally I would write this guy off to USC but the Trojans have recruited a horde of l inebackers over the past five years, including a pair of five stars just last February. Also removed PA WR Aaron Smith. Added a link to a Patrick Rigan article on Rivals and a strange free article from a University of Cincinatti site on PA WR/LB Dorin Dickerson. The latter seems like good news, as Dickerson is quoted saying, "Michigan has definitely made that extra effort in recruiting me that not many other schools have."
Update 6/6: Removed WR Menelik Holt(Neb commit). Sigh of relief about Micah Johnson, who lists us as one of six in this article. Added NY WR Vidal Hazelton and VA WR Chris Bell.
Update 6/9: Linked to article in which GA DE Jermaine Cunningham names a trio of SEC schools as leaders. Added CA QB Jake Locker, who appears to be the first quarterback after the Big Four to get offered. Added note that Taylor Mays is making an August decision. Linked to War & Peace-sized Myron Rolle article.
Update 6/14: Removed CB Brantwon Bowser (ASU commit). Linked to Mike Hartline interview, yet another Myron Rolle article, and a Scout article where Hornsby declares Florida leader. Added LA CB Jai Eugene and MI S Ian Conyers. Also added CO OL Butch Lewis.
Update 6/16: Finally removed LeSean McCoy after reading this PA Homestyle Sports entry. Given the way things are going (Percy Harvin now lists UM along with USC and the three Florida schools and added UM immediately after I sliced him off), we should lead for McCoy in under a month until I put him back on the list, upon which he'll immediately commit to Buffalo. Also removed IN LB AJ Edds. Changed Jeremiha Hunter's status... Michigan has fallen back to the back. Updated some schools for other players, as well.
Update 6/21: Added FL OT Daron Rose. Linked Pat Devlin Scout article and Antwine Perez Scout article. Sounds like USC is the current leader for Perez but he has nice things to say about Michigan. Extrapolated from article title and Dorin Dickerson profile that he's down to Michigan and Pitt (probably). His coach is the father of Pitt QB Tyler Palko and he lives in Pittsburgh--it will be close. Also linked to Travis Goethel Scout article.
Update 6/22: Grudgingly re-added VA WR Percy Harvin. Removed LB Akeem Hebron, TX OL Chris Stewart, FL WR Tony Wilson, MI LB Eric Gordon (MSU commit), and PA WR Dorin Dickerson(Pitt commit). Noted that PA DT Jason Pinkston will announce Monday... probably Pitt again (wild speculation).
Update 6/25: Linked to Rivals Guru Mike Farrell stating that he believes that Virginia and Michigan are neck and neck for PA QB Pat Devlin. Changed Cobrani Mixon's status to commited. Linked to Neil Caudle article where he names Auburn leader--no surprise there--and CSTV video package (~5 minutes) on Antwine Perez.
Update 6/26: Added GA QB David Cone and MI LB Quintin Patilla. Cone apparently got a camp offer despite hardly throwing for his option-crazy high school team. Linked to two Canton Repository articles on OH QB Mike Hartline, who camped at both Michigan and OSU recently. Asserted that Harline will commit if offered. Removed OH QB Miles Schlister (no way he gets offered) and OH OL Connor Smith (trust me). Linked to GBW article indicating that OH WR Robby Paris has been offered. Added NH(!) FB(!) Scott Spyrka because of same article. Also linked to a couple of recent reports from the Pittsburgh Sports Report. Each covers multiple players. To sum up: UF, ND, UM for Darrin Walls, Jared Odrick has us in his list of 15, PA QB Kevan Smith may get an offer sometimes soon, we're there with Jeremiha Hunter but no longer a clear leader, and Nate Byham did not mention Michigan on his list of five schools. More Paris: check out kickass video here, and Buckeye fans wondering why such a kickass kicker of asses isn't interested in Ohio State.
Update 6/27: Added CA S Jonas Mouton based on this article. Linked to another Myron Rolle article and added VA RB Brandon Minor and FL WR Greg Mathews. Removed several commitments to other schools: PA DT Jason Pinkston, MN CB Kim Royston, PA QB Kevan Smith. Linked to Byron Isom profile indicating that UF and SCar lead for him. Changed Dedrick Epps' status--mgoblog called him a possible camp commit, which obviously didn't happen. Added Scout 100 members and adjusted some partial star ratings thusly. Moved Quintin Patilla and David Cone to committed.
Update 6/30: Linked to Sam Young article in which he declares his final seven schools: USC, Stanford, Michigan, PSU, ND, UF, and Miami. Noted that Antwine Perez' profile has him down to USC, LSU, and Michigan. Linked to a Chris Bell article--sounds like Michigan will probably at least get an official--and an interview with Myron Rolle and his father.
Update 7/8: Removed PA QB Pat Devlin, who committed to Miami. Linked to Steve Brown article. Added CA CB Devin Ross, removed OH WR Robby Parris.
Update 7/18: Removed DE Patrick Rigan (MSU), QB Neil Caudle(Auburn), DT Jason Kates (ceased listing us), DT Jared Odrick (ceased listing us).
Update 7/26: Linked to Sam Young article. Removed S Pha'Terrell Washington (Maryland), CB Brian Brighton (we aren't recruiting him), OL Matt Carufel (dropped us), S Stephon Hampton (we shan't be needing sleeper safeties), CB Jovani Chappel (not listing us). Removed QBs Mike Hartline and Sean Hakes. The chances of us offering a quarterback without a current offer are very low. Removed RB Anthony Elzy and added FB Obi Ezeh.
Update 7/29: Noted that Florida, Oklahoma, and Miami lead for NV RB DeMarco Murray. Noted that Miami leads for VA RB Brandon Minor, removed QB Jake Locker(UW), QB Mitch Mustain(no longer listing us), OL Conor Smith(Ohio State). Moved Butch Lewis from OL to DT. Moved IN S Steve Brown to committed. Linked to AJ Wallace article.
Update 8/2: Linked to Devin Ross article; in it he pretty directly states that a USC offer will mean a USC commitment... why haven't the Trojans offered the #2 CB in the country? Removed NY WR Vidal Hazelton, who has dropped us and AR OL Bartley Webb(ND). Linked to Darrin Walls article, added LA OL Doug Stroud.
Update 8/10: Removed NJ WR Andrey Baskin, who dropped us. Also removed DT Aundre Henderson, who committed to Minnesota... Minnesota? Linked to a couple articles, one in the Seattle Times on Taylor Mays and Steve Schilling, the other a Rivals article on Mays citing the Times article.
Update 8/12: Linked to Scout article header that asserts Michigan is in the top 3 for CA S/LB Jonas Mouton, removed PA TE Nate Byham(Pitt). Pitt is really cleaning up in PA this year. Added FL OL Jim Barrie, linked to free Superprep Taylor Mays article.
Update 8/25: Added NY DE McKenzie Matthews, noted that Myron Rolle announces September 1, linked to Steve Brown article (forced fumble an a 98 yard touchdown return!). Linked to Tim Tebow article, Det News article on the best players in the state this year featuring Patilla and Graham. Added OH OL Mark Jackson.
Update 9/1: Changed KY DT Corey Peters' status to reflect the fact that Auburn leads now. Added FL RB CJ Spiller, removed DE Byron Isom, WR Chris Bell, and WR John Maddox. Linked to another Peters article and a Toryan Smith article. Linked to Antwine Perez article that claims he is down to just USC and Michigan... no LSU. Removed Myron Rolle(FSU).
Update 11/15: Removed TE Dedrick Epps (Miami), WR Chris Slaughter(Auburn), WR Jamar Hornsby(UF), WR Carl Fisher(not recruiting), CB Darrin Walls(Notre Dame), S Antwine Perez(USC), DE Jerrell Herring(not recruiting), NC LB Brandon Spikes(dropped us), LB Josh Tatum (dropped us), FB Scott Szpyrka (playin' baseball). Added NY DE McKenzie Matthews, MI WR Dominque Douglas, IN DE Dexter Larimore, MN K Sam Buckman, IL OT Perry Dorrestein, TX LB Mike Morgan. Added Commits Greg Mathews and John Ferrara.
Update 11/22: Removed DT Corey Peters, DE Jermaine Cunningham. Added DE Jason Adjepong. Removed CB AJ Wallace and LB Travis Goethel. Added K commit Bryan Wright and removed K Sam Buckman--no room at the inn any longer.
Update 12/5: Removed Micah Johnson, who committed to UK. Also removed NV RB DeMarco Murray(dropped us) and FL OT Jim Barrie(not technically out but trust me). Updated MI WR Dominque Douglas's list to include Iowa... and then removed him when he committed to Iowa. Added OH QB Rick Stanzi. Linked to article with passage on NJ DE Jason Adjepong and article on new K commit Bryan Wright.
Update 12/12: Linked to Mike Morgan article where he names three leaders, none of whom are Michigan. Removed LB Toryan Smith(ND), moved LB/FB Obi Ezeh to commited. Added NY TE Andrew Quarless; profile indicates he is visiting this weekend. Noted that WR commit Greg Mathews moved into the Rivals 100 at #91 after their last update... no, I haven't updated everyone else's rankings. Cone also got a bonus star, he's now got 3.
Removed OMG SHIRTLESS TIM TEBOW.
Update 12/19: Added MI S Aaron Gant and MI DE Quintin Woods, removed IN DT Dexter Larimore(OSU) and re-added KY DT Corey Peters, who was apparently just offered. Reaction to the Larimore commitment? Removed WR Percy Harvin(UF). Added GA RB Carlos Brown as a commitment. Updated Jonas Mouton's school list based on a Scout article header: Nebraska is out. Final three are USC, LSU, and UM... where have we heard that before?
Also, here's a Daron Rose article.
Update 1/11: Removed OLs Mark Jackson and Doug Stroud (not being recruited), QB Rick Stanzi, RB CJ Spiller, DE Jason Adjepong(VT), CB Devin Ross, LB Mike Morgan, S Ian Conyers. Moved LA CB Jai Eugene to committed. Added SC DT Adam Patterson, who just visited. Also added LA RB William Griffin.
Linked to free Scout article on Thaddeus Gibson in which Gibson is very explicit about his intentions:
"I 'd say there's a 65-70% chance I'll commit to Ohio State over the other programs."
Mentally moving him to the "written off" bin. Also linked to Scout article on Brandon Minor. Minor is noncommittal in the article, though he does get off this totally awesome quote:
"Coach (Lloyd) Carr was here on Jan. 3, and Coach (Phil) Fuhlmer was here on Jan. 4," he said. "They both told me how much they wanted me and stuff. I know that Michigan got a commitment from another running back, but that doesn't mean anything to me, I'll go in and play wherever I go."
Update 1/13: Linked to Jonas Mouton article and Brandon Graham article. Removed WR Adrian Cannon, who apparently commited to Maryland, TE Andrew Quarless(PSU), and RB Knowshon Moreno(ceased listing us). Added TX QB Nick Stephens after a mention that Michigan had offered him in the Dallas Morning News.
Adjusted teams for RB/FB Brandon Minor(down to Michigan and Tennessee), OT Sam Young(ND, PSU, USC, M), and DE McKenzie Matthews, (M and Pitt with M leading).
Update 1/23: Removed OT Sam Young(ND), LB Thaddeus Gibson(OSU), RB William Griffin(with Minor's commitment there's no room at the inn for RBs). Moved RB Brandon Minor to committed. Linked to Steve Schilling article and Dallas Morning News blog entry(!) on TX QB Nick Stephens.
Update 1/25: Added QB Lee Mondol. Linked to McKenzie Matthews article. Moved OL Steve Schilling to committed. Added links to a Rivals feature called "The Breakdown" with high praise for both Brandon Graham and Schilling and a Free Press article on Quintin Woods. Also: a Seattle Times article on the Schilling commitment. Linked to Greg Biggins post on S Jonas Mouton that indicates he's coming to Michigan.
Update 1/30: Linked to a couple articles on DE Adam Patterson, Detroit News article in which Lemming asserts that PA DT Jason Kates will commit to Michigan. There's also an South Bend Tribune article with a mention that ND was going to pursue Kates after losing out on some high profile DTs. Linked to Columbus Dispatch article with reference to Peters (and Greg Mathews) and an older article. At the time it was written Peters was down to UK and Auburn. Linked to short squib in which Patterson's coach declares he's down to South Carolina and Michigan.
The madness! Does not stop! Here's Rivals' initial top ten for '07. Three Michigan recruits are on it: WI OT Josh Oglesby, MI CB Ronald Johnson, and TX QB Ryan Mallet.
Update 2/1 (final): Moved Patterson, Kates, and Mouton to committed. Removed Daron Rose, McKenzie Mathews, Corey Peters, and Lee Mondol.
MARQUES SLOCUM - DT - West Catholic(PA)
Height: 6'5" Weight: 310
Lemming: #78 overall, #6 G
Rivals: ****, #37 overall, #1 G
Scout.com: ****, #87 overall
Projected Role: Gabe Watson 2.0
Slocum managed 75 tackles this season--an extremely high number for an interior lineman--despite playing part of the season with a hairline ankle fracture. Then he went down to the Army-All American game slimmed down and pissed off that he had to play guard. When an East DL went down with injury, though, Slocum stepped in on the defensive line and "beat the hell out of" one Alex Boone, five star OSU commit. During the game, he was man the West's offensive line focused on, doubling him almost every play.
Part of the reason that Slocum impressed so many at the Army game is that Slocum showed up at a relatively svelte 310 pounds, down from the 330 he played at in high school. He's clearly preparing himself to play early and should be better prepared than Gabe Watson was coming into college. He'll probably see the field quickly as part of the DT rotation, and in time should end up as good as Watson.
TERRANCE TAYLOR - DT - Muskegon(MI)
Height: 6'1" Weight: 285
Lemming: #85 overall, #6 DT
Rivals: ****, #98 overall, #8 DT, #3 MI
Scout.com: ****, #12 DT
Projected Role: Extremely large ball of hate
Terrance Taylor is a little bit like Grady, a player who was dominant from the start and earmarked for Michigan for a long time--except for a brief period where he declared LSU his leader and scared the pants off Michigan recruitniks everywhere. Taylor was all-state honorable mention.
As a freshman.
As a senior, Taylor made 47 tackles, 16 for loss, and lead his Muskegon team to their first Division 2 state championship since 1989, wasting OLSM 31-7 in the final. Taylor and Muskegon held OLSM to 56 yards of offense. Did I mention he won his weight class in powerlifting... three times? And that he set state records doing it?
So Taylor is a) a freak athlete who b) has tons and tons of high school experience. Taylor seems like he's underrated, even though he is a top-100 player according to Rivals. He has a (relatively) short, compact, powerful body with long arms, the perfect recipe for a penetrating, disruptive interior lineman. If he can add 15 or 20 productive pounds and get even a little stronger, he will be a monster.
JAMES MCKINNEY - DE - Louisville Central(KY)
Height: 6'2" Weight: 277
Lemming: #78 overall, #8 DE
Rivals: ****, #99 overall, #9 DT, #2 KY
Scout.com: ****, #97 overall, #11 DT
Projected Role: Bad cop
McKinney is your runaway winner in this year's "weirdest recruiting process" category. McKinney originally committed to Michigan a year ago as a junior, but backed out of that commitment and began his long, strange journey, which culminated when McKinney took an official visit to Louisville and was asked to leave. He also rated his Michigan official visit a "6", mentioning that there wasn't much to do in Ann Arbor during finals week and that he was bored. Then he committed to the Wolverines anyway, but not before flirting with Clemson, Nebraska, Florida, Kentucky, Angelina Jolie, and my sister.
So we went from enthralled enough to commit early to traipsing about everywhere else to bored with Ann Arbor to getting sent home from an official to Michigan commitment once more. So we've established that McKinney might be a little eccentric. Fortunately, he's also extremely good at football. McKinney was primarily a defensive end and tight end in high school but moonlit at fullback and middle linebacker when the situation called for it. He is a natural for the defensive end position, a 270 to 280 pound athlete who can get the edge or burst inside with his strength, making 70 tackles and 10 sacks as a senior.
But my favorite thing about James McKinney is that he always looks angry. Every picture I've ever seen of him, and I've probably seen all of the ones that made it to the internet in my somewhat-disturbing scouring thereof, feature James McKinney, Mean Looking Hombre (see above). I figure there's a significant chance McKinney spends at least a year in the doghouse, but he's a natural for the defensive end spot who's been performing at a high level for a long time. He'll bring some attitude to the defense. Hopefully he doesn't bring too much to get himself on the field.
EUGENE GERMANY - DE - Pomona(CA)
Height: 6'4" Weight: 275
Lemming: #88 overall (2004)
Rivals: ****, #86 overall, #3 DE, #9 CA (2004)
Scout.com: ***, #20 DE (2004)
Projected Role: DE/DT tweener
Germany is the first-runner up in the aforementioned "weirdest recruiting process" category. Germany was long considered a heavy lean to Michigan last year, but when USC got involved with him in the days leading up to signing day, Pete Carroll's siren song was too powerful to resist. Germany disregarded the advice of his coaches --who counselled him to consider the amount of respect the Trojans paid him earlier in the year--and became Carroll's twenty-fifth or -sixth #1 guy.
At least, that is, until Petey needed to free up some scholarships. Germany came down with some NCAA clearinghouse issues that prevented his enrollment as a part of the 2004 class and pushed his scholarship offer back to 2005. But as winter rolled around, Carroll made Germany's scholarship contigent on him taking and performing well in three classes in the winter semester... an unheard of move and one pretty transparently calculated to inform Eugene that he wasn't really wanted. Germany took the hint, reopened his recruitment, and eventually committed to Michigan after considering various Pac-10 schools and Kansas State.
So what does Michigan have in Germany? A pissed off 275-pound defensive lineman who was a top-100 recruit in 2004. Germany actually played middle linebacker in high school, racking up over 300 tackles in his final two years to go with 14 sacks. He's a big, big guy who will start out at defensive end but may move inside.
Germany participated in a number of practices with USC before coming down with his case of noscholarshipforyou-itis and there is some confusion as to whether Germany will be able to enroll and play at Michigan without counting as a transfer. If the NCAA declares him to be a transfer expect Michigan to appeal.
MGOBLOG Editorial Stance
A+. Are you kidding me? Four top-100 recruits? This class is silly good, the strongest defensive-line class Michigan has ever had in the Lemming era of recruiting. No offense to the Bowmans, Stevens, and Heuers of the world, but these guys are on another level of potential. Gone are the days of 260-pound bulked up LBs at DT and 230 pound converted safeties playing DE. Michigan has had occasional NFL prospects on the line--James Hall, Will Carr, Shantee Orr, Josh Williams--but never the kind of players that could go in the first or second round. Now they have an entire defensive line of them.
I'm most excited about the defensive tackles. Taylor seems like the kind of player who may be underrated because he doesn't have the leviathan size that is en vogue for interior linemen to have these days, but he has a compact and powerful frame that will make him a huge problem for opposing linemen to handle. Slocum is 6'5" or 6'6" and massively powerful and nimble... plus he had never seriously started a weight program until last year. He was extremely effective at the Army All-American game practices against the top offensive linemen in the country and has only begun to scratch the surface of what he can do. I expect both of these guys to be impact players.
Both Germany and McKinney are reportedly around 270 or 280 right now, so there is some concern one or both could outgrow the defensive end position and have to slide inside. McKinney is explosive for a player his size and would be best on the outside. There was actually some talk he would play OLB if Michigan retains the 3-4. Germany has already added 15 pounds from where he was as a high school senior and will probably get even bigger at UM. He could actually end up inside at some point, but defensive tackle is a position where four or even five players will see significant time--as DTs have gotten larger their stamina has declined proportionally. Replacing a tired Watson with a fresh equivalent is a luxury few teams have. Michigan has the opportunity to have a deep, talented line, perhaps the deepest in a long, long time.
It, of course, remains to be seen whether Michigan can actually take advantage of these athletes, but this is a recruiting summary, not (yet another) coaching diatribe. The raw material is here. Molding it into a dominating force... well, let's keep those fingers crossed.