Let's not call Lawrence Thomas "Lawrence Taylor" just yet. There's no proof of any collegiate achievement or drug consumption to support that slip at this point in time.
this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
A continuation of the Wednesday post that covers the last three years and what's shaping up in 2012. Side note: light day today. Semi-vacation day.
Chris Norman, Larry Caper, Will Campbell
|Touted Recruits||Head To Head||Signee Rankings|
|2009||2||8||1||1||4||1, 6, 12, 24||2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 15, 20, 25|
(MSU H2H wins: Dion Sims, Larry Caper, Edwin Baker, and Chris Norman.)
Michigan State nearly swept the in-state four stars, though some of those were pretty iffy—Jeremy Gainer's offer list read "MSU, Iowa and crap"; Donald Spencer's read "MSU and… MSU." Others could be filed under "just one of those things," like Blake Treadwell being a Spartan coach's son. Others were no longer of interest to Michigan because of their offensive system.
That said, this year saw four players who Michigan wanted and seriously could have used go to Michigan State, more than the previous six years combined. Only one—Norman—was a Ren/SE kid. Michigan's instate recruits were three Cass Tech kids and Inkster's Cam Gordon; with the exception of Michigan getting the #1 kid in the state this looks like a complete reversal of The Natural Way Of Things.
Anthony Zettel, Will Gholston, Brennen Beyer
|Touted Recruits||Head To Head||Signee Rankings|
|2010||1||3||3||2||2||2, 11, 12, 22||1, 5, 7, 8, 9, 18, 19, 24, 28|
|2011||3||1||2||2||2||4, 5, 6, 7, 19, 25||1, 9, 10, 14, 26|
(MSU H2H wins: Mylan Hicks, Will Gholston (2010); Ed Davis, Lawrence Taylor (2011))
The last two years were a wash. Michigan State picked up four more head to head battles, all of them for Ren/Southeastern kids. Michigan won a few, mostly Cass Tech kids. The state continued to bleed talent outside its borders.
2010 was odd because three of the four-star prospects in state were quarterbacks. Michigan won the derby for Devin Gardner, then Robert Bolden picked Penn State; Joe Boisture was left over for State. By the end of the year it was clear he was massively overrated, and he's already left the program. Gholston and Hicks were in bad places for Michigan recruiting; Max Bullough was a legacy. CJ Olaniyan also picked Penn State. A bit farther down the list Michigan made a bad choice by taking Austin White over Nick Hill and inexplicably ignored eventual Iowa commit Austin Gray. Their on-again, off-again recruitment of Jon Hankins (and his presence at SE) eventually turned him off; he went to Ohio State and contributed there his first year.
Last year the top player in the state was again a Ren kid who went to State. DeAnthony Arnett flirted with instate schools but always seemed headed elsewhere; he ended up at Tennessee. Anthony Zettel was a lifelong Michigan fan that Rodriguez/turmoil/etc eventually blew. The next four guys ended up at Michigan; further down Michigan lost SE's Ed Davis to State and Jacob Fisher to The Process.
We don't have rankings yet but a head to head scoreboard will suggest some things.
Royce Jenkins-Stone, Mario Ojemudia, James Ross
Michigan commits: Ben Braden, Royce Jenkins-Stone, James Ross, Devin Funchess
Michigan leans: Matt Godin, Mario Ojemudia, Ron Thompson, Dan O'Brien*
MSU leans: Aaron Burbridge
*[O'Brien maintains Tennessee as his leader but Michigan is currently second with MSU nowhere in sight; if he stays instate he will be at M.]
The Natural Way Of Things returns.
With both schools seeking pro-style offensive players and running 4-3s on defense the evaluation gap has evaporated. Southeastern and Renaissance have no D-I players; even if they did, the "hurts my heart" guy got fired and the "Will Gholston lived with me" guy was hired by (surprise!) Michigan State to be a video coordinator. Those two factors were at play in six of the ten head to head battles Michigan State won over the last four years, and most people who follow these things closely think a couple of the exceptions are iffy. Tyler Hoover probably didn't actually have a committable Michigan offer and Michigan seemed to back off of Sims after they got wind of he and his dad's involvement with a laptop theft ring.
Hoke walked into a situation closer to those Michigan experienced at the beginning of the time frame covered here: Michigan has a number of very good regional recruits but few that are being recruited nationally. Of those guys two are at Cass Tech and a third is best friends with the guys at Cass Tech, leaving Danny O'Brien the only guy notching offers from way across the country who isn't extremely predisposed to head to Ann Arbor.
Still, Hoke locking down guys who should go to Michigan is an accomplishment. Michigan's downfall started when they failed to take advantage of the record bumper crop of 2007, losing "locks" like Ronald Johnson, Joseph Barksdale, and Dionte Allen and failing to swing any of the guys who were "locks" to other schools. Michigan lost CJ Olaniyan, Jon Hankins, and Dior Mathis two years ago. Last year Anthony Zettel escaped to Penn State, Jacob Fisher to Oregon, and DeAnthony Arnett to Tennessee. Those sorts of losses were far less frequent in the early part of the time frame here—from 2003 to 2006 Michigan missed on one top-three Michigan player they offered. Further down the list they had a similar strike rate.
Michigan lost its grip on instate recruiting late in the Carr era and failed to reassert it under Rodriguez. That was a combination of a run of talent at schools featuring guys who were going to funnel their guys to State come hell or high water, State legacies, and some guys on the margins of four stars. Without that confluence of factors, MSU was pretty much just MSU.
It seems likely Michigan will get seven or eight of the top ten-ish players instate. This is indeed unprecedented. In the long long ago when the Natural Way Of Things held, the state didn't produce enough talent for Michigan to offer the top five players, let alone the top ten. When it suddenly started producing buckets of talent huge chunks of it fled. So, like, Hoke uber alles.
Let's not call Lawrence Thomas "Lawrence Taylor" just yet. There's no proof of any collegiate achievement or drug consumption to support that slip at this point in time.
Is there a reason that there has been more talent in the state recently? Is it "real", or just more exposure and awareness by nature of youtube and things?
Have high schools adjusted their styles to either create more talent, or to harness it?
I don't follow HS football, and I never played. Do HS systems adapt to what they're given, or do they force mould players into their system? Of course the answer will be, "A little of both." Right?
I think exposure has lots to do with it. Prospects who couldn't get noticed now can just upload a video on youtube.
Like you I don't know much about HS football since swam and played water polo. It seems to me that most coaches have a system they like to run, but might adapt to certain players. For example you see lots of HS running the wing-T or some run heavy offense because they don't have the talent to throw the ball. I know for a long time my HS ran the wing-T, but once they got an athletic QB, they switched to the spread.
The strange thing about HS football is that you will often see the best athlete playing QB. Pharaoh Brown who is being recruited as a DE plays both QB and DE for his HS. I think Jeremy Gallon was a QB in a single wing offense and also Desmond Morgan was a LB and a QB. I guess the system is get your best player the most touches. I think you assessment of "a little of both" is correct in this case.
Yes indeed. "Get your best athlete the ball" is the strategy employed by many high school coaches, and it's a winning strategy. I have discovered that teams who don't make their best player a workhorse tend to lose more games than they win.
I was at UM from 89-90 to 93 and don't remember the star system in place then. I remember reading the hype in the local papers about Ricky Powers, Steve, Everitt, Todd Collins, etc.
I think it was the early 2000s. These two articles have made me curious about the more ancient past of Michigan recruiting (well at least the '80s and '90s). I remember growing up and looking forward to the Blue Chip list of prospects in the Detroit News. After a quick search yesterday, I only found a list of their No. 1 players in the state, but the lists from each year don't appear to be available (though Ernest Shazor's wikipedia page links to the 2002 list, but for whatever reason the Los Angles Public Library doesn't let you look at it without a library card).
Even this list does bring up some intriging questions: were T. J. Duckett and Chalres Rogers always locks for MSU or was it an upset when they went there, why did Eric Ball go to UCLA when he was from Ypsi, and how did ND come in to the state and get three #1s in the early '90s (well besides that they were a national power at that time)? If anyone has any insight into this era of recruiting I would love to hear it.
T.J. Duckett is the younger brother of Tico Duckett, who played at MSU in the late '80s, so it was always an uphill battle to try to recruit him.
Rogers was theoretically more up for grabs, but he was good friends with Jason Richardson, a fellow Saginaw guy, and that hurt us. MSU basketball was recruiting a ton of Flint/Saginaw natives at that time.
As for ND, they were a recruiting juggernaut under Holtz. (That they beat us four years in a row from 1987-90 did not help any.) They also used to have somewhat lower academic standards at that time.
I didn't know Jerome Bettis was from Detroit!!
Duckett's older brother was a star RB at msu in the 80's, so he was legacy-ish. a bit foggy on the rogers thing, i don't think UM really needed him as they were in their "we just reload" phase at wr and i also remember that he had 2 kids as a high school senior, which (treading on shaky ground here, not trying to sound holier than thou) might have scared some folks away.
don't remember the ND thing very well, but you are right, they were a power coming of a national championship in 89 i think. guess it makes sense that 90, 92, and 93 they still had clout.
And in those days (obviously) there weren't any definitive rating systems locally or nationally for players - at least that I was aware of. On a national scale, you had the Parade Magazine 1st-2nd-3rd All-American teams to go by to see how a big name recruit stacked up nationally. At some point, some of the national magazines starting printing names of top high school players (Street and Smith comes to mind) in the country. But, mostly what you paid attention to were the major local newspapers like the Free Press and Detroit News - back when they actually had professional and good writers. The 1st Team All-State selections had the most significance to Michigan recruiting I'd say. (This was before the News started coming up with their Blue Chip lists) And all state listings for nearby states were also significant. Again, there were no rating systems in place where you could meaningfully compare the relative strengths of players. It wasn't much, but it's all we had.
was sending out recruiting newsletters since the very early 80's.
i still consider any orange colored paper to be called "tom lemming yellow".
Rogers was a partial qualifier at a time when UM wasn't accepting them. That didn't stop speculation that they would make an exception in his case.
Even if not, we'd have just sent him to a prep school for a year. We definitely wanted him.
TJ's brother was a standout RB for MSU inthe 80's. Bye would have killed it at Michigan
Interesting stuff, makes sense about both Duckett and Rogers. Saginaw seems to be that in the "in between" territory where both schools compete for recruits pretty evenly, so the Rogers recruitment is as surprising.
Another question, does anyone know if Ron Woolfolk was related to Troy and Butch? I know Troy is from TX and apparently Butch was from NJ, but it's not exactly a common name (espeically for another football player on the defensive side of the ball).
Also here is another website I stublmed across: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~svijan/mich95_6/foot.html. Perhaps the first U-M recruiting website? Interesting if you remember the players from that era, and also interesting to see some of the drama from signing day 1996.
I think at the time Saginaw was MSU territory. Charles Rogers was the No. 1 recruit in the country and Michigan was supposedly hard after him, but he was always a longshot. This seems silly today but when reading he was coming for his visit to Michigan I was surprised we were in on him. He was an MSU lean from the start of his recruitment. I also remember thinking he was kind of a personality risk, though for the life of me I can't remember why.
If you look up the Freep's Best of the Midwest lists, they also annually review some of the past years in a "where are they now fashion", to show how they are doing, as well as really old one's who were standouts.
The Duckett thing's been pretty well answered, but as for Rogers, I've been told they were mainly recruiting him to jeep him away from MSU. They didn't really want him, not because he wasn't super talented (he obviously was), but because his character issues went back to high school. His baby's mama even had stabbed him with a fork. In fact, they were actively trying to encourage him that if he wasn't going to choose Michigan, he should go to the other school that was heavy on him - Florida State (and thus not have to deal with him off or on the field). But he stuck with MSU.
"keep" not "jeep".
Zettel went to Penn State. Are you calling that the worst jersey? I think you mean Fisher, who went to Oregon.
Also, RoJo was recruited to play DB at Michigan and WR at USC. He wasn't ever considered a running back as far as I can remember.
OK, there was chaos early this year, but Hoke and Mattison were in place before signing day. How do you walk away from the team you grew up loving? Never made any sense to me.
I think it was because he verballed before Hoke was hired. He must have really liked Penn State and we were in flux with the coaching situation.
Before Rich was even fired?
It is a huge life decision for these kids. Some of these kids can separate being a fan and making the decision that is right for them, which is hard for us fans to comprehend.
its not like he picked east carolina over UM. he picked PSU, they have big bucks, a great tradition, great visibility, a stable coaching continuity situation, and a history of putting d-linemen in the league.
The "filed under" categories are (most times) hiliarious... I always get a chuckle outta them. (FYI)
You're right - Campbell should have been redshirted.
You're wrong - Rich Rod didn't recruit that well. Have a look at his full recruiting classes. Yes, there are some obvious high-level players. But in 2009 and 2010, notice the lack of ability to secure TE or D-line recruits. Notice in 2010 and 2011 his inability to secure O and D-line recruits. I don't know any team that can win without solid line play. That was his big flaw in recruiting, IME.
RR did not heavily recruit TE so his inability appears to be more by choice.
Jack Tabb? Alex Smith?
Also Ray Hamilton who was gave Michigan some interest because his dad played with RR at WV.
The whole "RR never wanted a TE" is false. RR wanted a TE no matter what most people say. In 2011 he offered 13 TEs and the only one who signed was Chris Barnett who was more a product of the new staff since he committed in Feb.
He only offered 11 tight ends in the class of 2011. Chris Barnett was offered by the new coaching staff.
And when you NEED NEED NEED a tight end, 11 offers isn't enough. You can't tell me that there are only 11 players in the entire country who can play tight end for Michigan. He under-recruited the position. I'm not saying he didn't want a tight end or two, but he didn't want it badly enough.
I completley disagree with everything you said about the offensive line. The one thing other than Denard and the offensive scheme that Rich Rod got right was his o-line. Michigan's offensive line was pretty solid across the board and Rich Rod did fine recruiting the o-line (Lewan, Omameh, Schofield, and he recruited Jacob Fisher). Yes, Rich Rod didn't recruit enough lineman but the o-line has definitely been a positive since Rich Rod's 2nd year.
RR walked into a 2008 class that already had four O-linemen (Khoury, Mealer, Wermers and O'Neill) in the fold. O-Line was obviously a priority with Long and Kraus graduating. Of those guys O'Neill and Mealer were considered top guys, while Khoury and Wermers were backups signed when we missed out on two 5-stars who went to Ohio State (Brewster and Adams), and like seven more 4-stars.
In retrospect obviously that wasn't going to cut it. But put yourself in late 2007, look at an O-Line anchored by Boren and Schilling plus guys like Molk and Zirbel coming up, plus two 4-stars and two 3-stars and say "is O-Line where I need to focus?"
RR realized this was a desperate "YES" and pulled off a coup in luring Barnum into the class, and though on the job just a few weeks, was able to see everything he needed to in Omameh. RR was also hard after Josh Jenkins, a WVU commit who ended up recomitting to the Mountaineers.
My point is I wouldn't have looked at that roster in '07 and realized it was in serious danger, not just for 2008 but for 2009, 2010, and 2011 too.
The projected line for this year is Lewan, Barnum, Molk, Omameh, Huyge/Schofield. Of the Carr guys, including 2008 commits, all that's left is Molk and a 5th year senior who is just a guy and we're hoping loses his starting job to another RR (rs) sophomore. Rodriguez filled 40% of that line in a few months of recruiting, after it looked like M was done recruiting offensive linemen. Contrast that with late-Carr/DeBord, who had Schilling at tackle, and thought Alex Mitchell and Jeremy Ciulla were starting Big Ten linemen.
You and the other poster missed the operative terms - 2010 and 2011 offensive line recruiting.
I know all the information about the 2008 class. I know what Rich Rod brought in in 2009. I also know that the 2010 class brought in .......... Christian Pace, and the 2011 class brought in ............. Bryant, Posada and Miller.
4 offensive linemen in 2 years is nowhere near good enough. A college football team should recruit one player per position every year. Michigan should have brought in, at minimum, 8-10 offensive linemen in that period.
There is a potential crater waiting in 2013 unless Hoke fixes it. The line, as it stands now, will be: Lewan - ?? - Pace - Bryant - Schofield, with Miller, Posada, Braden, Stacey and Gunderson as backups. That's. It.
If you want to declare that "good recruiting," go right ahead. That's terrifying recruiting, in my book.
Normally I wouldn't say that getting a preferred walk on OL is important, but our situation call for as many bodies that we can get.
If we imagine RR was secure in his job I think you would have seen at least one and probably two more O-linemen coming in this year, and a huge year in the 2012 class no matter what. He also had Campbell joining the squad.
Five offenisve linemen every year seems a bit much. Counting 20% attrition/bust rate you still end up with 20 guys for 5 spots.
Three a year should do it. We were overloaded in '08, which should mean lots of seniors in 2012, and the next generation stepping in by 2013. Q to the defense without a return is really the killer -- if two interior linemen go down we're into Mealer or freshmen.
It's a good line in 2011, and if Schofield wins the job from Huyge that's just one guy (Molk) to replace, and center's the deepest spot on the line with Khoury ready to go and Pace a very Molk-like guy. If Washington was still on that depth chart I'd figure it was just a typical Michigan generational line. As it stands, I agree, 2013 looks scary. Even that still features two seniors at the tackle spots and center in the hands of Pace. At that point it's either Posada/Bryant/Posada in one or two guard spots, or a redshirt freshman from this year. That's the way it goes sometimes. Provided this year ends up a big one all across the offensive line (five or six highly rated guys) I feel like at least one of them can emerge as a starter by his RS freshman year, and a few can be serviceable backups.
You have a case to make because so much is placed on success this year. But if you're looking at where RR left the program, you have to at least give him Jake Fisher in the '11 class and Will Campbell at guard.
Even if Rodriguez stayed, Jake Fisher was probably the only other addition to the offensive line group. Rodriguez didn't bring in enough offensive linemen. That's the bottom line. We won't pay for it this year, and probably not in 2012. But in 2013, it could be an issue.
"Michigan lost its grip on instate recruiting late in the Carr era"
So does late in the Carr era refer only to 2007, the year everyone in the world knew Carr was retiring? Because by Brian's admission in the first piece, Michigan got everyone they wanted in 2005-6, so the grip was fine then.
"I'm skeptical as well about the narrative that things were starting to fall off the rails before Rodriguez got here."
Did you miss the first two games of '07? :)
Look again at the details from '07 (when numerous big names left the state) and '08 (partly Carr's class ... two head-to-head losses) again.
- - -
In the recent post, I would have preferred to see something more along the lines of "Started in '07, was worst in '09, and seems to be recovering somewhat." RichRod's in-state performance looks pretty bad in retrospect.
he was, like I, just referring to in-state recruiting so the 2007 games aren't relevant.
I understand that 2008 is partly Carr's class, but I have a hard time counting any head to head losses against him when he didn't have the opportunity to finish the class off. Not implying he would or wouldn't have gotten Smith or Hoover, it just doesn't make sense to include them.
Under Carr in 2005-2007 recruiting quality fell off (IMO) at O-Line (exceptions probably being Schilling and Cry Baby Boren), WR, LB, and RB. Yes, we did bring in Kevin Grady, Brandon Minor and Carlos Brown in this period, but none of them ended up setting the world on fire at U-M. And two of them were from out of state anyway. And problems at defensive line and the def. backfield with attrition were partially due to recruiting the wrong guys (shaky academics or off-field risks). Poster children here Cissoko and Slocum) Yes, there were also some losses due to injuries that were not Carr's fault (Antonio Bass and Corey Zirbel). Whether "Michigan lost its grip on instate recruiting" during this time or not is academic. The bottom line is what all the players we brought in then produced in their careers - whether they came from instate or out of state.
but this discussion is about in-state recruiting, so I was only talking about in-state recruiting (there have been plenty of other posts/threads lamenting Carr's recruiting overall in his last few years.) And again, if they supposedly got everyone they wanted to get - outside of one year - I don't see how that comment makes sense.
Why have there been two posts on the front page this week, and why'd you read them? It obviously meant something to somebody.
I think what Brian was getting at was the rumblings from Southeastern and Renaissance, which probably began with those coaches getting hired.
I'm most familiar with Renaissance. The relevent Ren bits:
"I had two kids who went to the University of Michigan with Lloyd Carr and when Rodriguez took over last year, in my opinion they weren't done well. They weren't treated well. Carson had to leave early… to the NFL, and Andre Criswell, who's still up there, he's a graduate assistant who's not doing anything. And that hurt my heart. And I have a kid at West Virginia who's not very happy there. And I feel that."
This was over a 2-star flier fullback who became an RR grad assistant, and one of two main protagonists in the St. Patrick's Day Nerd Massacre.
The quote's from 2009. But his coaching at Ren goes back further. The program's about 15 years old I believe. When I was in high school they the "Rena-nerds," were to liberal arts what Cass Tech was to science and math -- the brightest kids of Detroit, with coaches who knew what they were about, but a power program they were not. The staff which was fired last October, including Watts, came on about 2004 or 2005 I believe. I never heard anything but bad things about them.
Can we replace the Ojemudia photo with the Danger Room-enhanced Cyclops ani? This should be standard practice
Obviously, it's Carr. But that's not a fair comparison because WVU can't realistically be expected to produce as much NFL talent as Michigan.
Incredibly irrelevant question. Rich Rod had 2 full recruiting classes at Michigan, that's it. Lloyd had at least 18, if you want to count the players who got drafted early in his tenure when he was elevated from DC to HC.