Tennessee is not recruiting well just because they got 18 dudes
Okay, I just want to break this down. I haven't tried my hand at analysis much, but I wanted to take on this recent confusion over why we're looking at so many Corners and Safeties. Please take this only as an attempt at reasoning through it. If you disagree, that's fine - I gave it the old college try.
Here we go.
We all know, there are a few highly rated DBs visiting over the next couple weeks. This year, with the offers we have out, there could be as many as seven DB prospects we get commitments from.
Here's our current roster (scholarship only):
CB: Troy Woolfolk, JT Floyd, Cullen Christian, Courtney Avery, Terrence Talbott
S (Jeremy Gallon is listed here, but yeah right): Josh Furman, Ray Vinopal, Cam Gordon, Thomas Gordon, Brandin Hawthorne, Carvin Johnson, Marvin Robinson, Jordan Kovacs
That means we're 4-deep at Safeties, but only 2 1/2-deep at corner. We are still going after DBs hard in this class, so that leads me to a few conclusions:
1) We need some Corners.
With Woolfolk having just his senior year left, and Floyd looking unimpressive (to be fair, the whole defense was unimpressive, but still...), we definitely need a few corners.
2) Cam Gordon will be switched back to Wide Receiver.
This is not data. This is intuition. We are recruiting a lot of, say it with me, Defensive Backs. We are not recruiting very many, one more time with feeling..., Wide Outs.
Our WRs are: Hemingway, Stonum, Roundtree, Odoms, Jackson, Miller, Stokes, etc. BUT...Miller (6'4'') and Jackson (6'3'') are very young, and the rest of the depth chart has Stonum as the tallest receiver at 6'2'' with a bunch of little slot guys. Cam is perfect for a West Coast style of offense. Stolen from Football 101 at calsci.com:
The ideal size of a receiver [in the West Coast Offense] should be at least 6'3'' and weigh about 210 pounds.
Anyone want to take a look at Cam Gordon's height and weight? Of course, build isn't everything, but he was a receiver when he was first recruited, so it's not really out of the question.
3) Two of these commits are taking the place of Vlad Emilien and Justin Turner.
We lost 2 Defensive backs in the last year, so even if we end up signing 7 DBs, it's kind of a net 5 due to replacing those two.
4) We might not NEED all seven.
The question is, since we have a real shot with McClure, Raven AND Taylor, who is the odd man out? My guess would be Delonte Hollowell. It's great that he's Blue, but even if he stays with us, he's probably relegated to backup duty for his time here, barring a miracle.
5) There will be a bunch of redshirts.
For obvious reasons, but I don't know who, because I don't actually know which would be better - to redshirt the not-quite-as-good to see if we can coach them up? or to redshirt the possible stars to give them more time in maize and blue?
6) A safety will move to LB
We have 7 LBs right now (before this recruiting class), and we could probably use more. There are a couple of players listed at Safety that could definitely be LBs - Furman and Robinson, specifically.
Conclusion: Do I think we'll end up with 7 DBs in the class? No. That's a lot of Defensive Backs, but it looks like there's room, somehow. If we get Raven and McClure, we definitely have to hang onto them, though. If a couple guys redshirt, and the ones who are ready to contribute stay on the roster, we'll end up with a pretty excellent secondary for quite a few years. Now if we only had a DB coach...
There has been a lot of hand-wringing about the DBs that got away or didn't pan out - Cissoko, Turner, Dorsey, Smith, Vlad, Witty - and there is nothing more annoying as a general theme than, "What If...?"
Buuuut, I have to indulge in one "What If...?" because these guys didn't leave the team or fail.
What if Donovan Warren didn't go pro and Troy was healthy? Can you imagine how just those two Michigan men would have transformed this defense? What would be our potential?
So, I am watching WolverineHistorian's typically outstanding summary video on YouTube and trying to see if the conventional wisdom on "soft" corner play is accurate. I start grabbing screenshots. What I think as soft corner play, say here...
...may not be? Is a better definition of soft corner play that, when the ball is snapped, the defender doesn't close if needed? Because what little I could find of Patrick Peterson doesn't show him playing all that much closer to the LOS:
Well, a little closer. So, someone who knows coverage schemes edumacate me. Are these "soft"?
Or is "soft" a nonsense term that really is an indictment of instincts (closing on a short pass, being able to recover if the receiver turns it up field, etc.) rather than cushion?