Wasn't Jordan Kovacs a walk-on?
a terrible blight on our fine country
This wasn't a bad year, was it?
|Scout (4th)||247 (8th)||ESPN (7th)||Committed|
|Ben Braden||OL||5.7 (3-star)||3-star||85 (3-star)||79 (3-star)||Mar 24|
|Kaleb Ringer||LB||5.7 (3-star)||3-star||88 (3-star)||78 (3-star)||Apr 12|
|Royce Jenkins-Stone||LB||5.8 (4-star)||4-star||93 (4-star)||80 (4-star)||Apr 16|
|Devin Funchess||TE||5.7 (3-star)||4-star||90 (4-star)||80 (4-star)||Apr 22|
|A.J. Williams||TE||5.7 (3-star)||4-star||86 (3-star)||77 (3-star)||Apr 22|
|Joe Bolden||LB||5.8 (4-star)||4-star||96 (4-star)||80 (4-star)||Apr 29|
|James Ross||LB||5.8 (4-star)||4-star||95 (4-star)||80 (4-star)||May 2|
|Mario Ojemudia||DE||5.7 (3-star)||4-star||89 (3-star)||80 (4-star)||May 7|
|Matt Godin||DT||5.7 (3-star)||3-star||91 (4-star)||79 (3-star)||May 12|
|Terry Richardson||CB||5.8 (4-star)||4-star||95 (4-star)||81 (4-star)||May 19|
|Allen Gant||S||5.6 (3-star)||3-star||85 (3-star)||75 (3-star)||May 31|
|Erik Magnuson||OT||5.9 (4-star)||4-star||96 (4-star)||79 (4-star)||Jun 10|
|Tom Strobel||DE||5.8 (4-star)||4-star||93 (4-star)||78 (3-star)||Jun 10|
|Jeremy Clark||DB||5.7 (3-star)||3-star||85 (3-star)||76 (3-star)||Jun 24|
|Blake Bars||OL||5.8 (4-star)||3-star||89 (3-star)||79 (3-star)||Jun 26|
|Jarrod Wilson||S||5.8 (4-star)||4-star||91 (4-star)||80 (4-star)||Jul 8|
|Kyle Kalis||OL||6.1 (5-star)||5-star||96 (4-star)||80 (4-star)||Jul 10|
|Sione Houma||FB||5.5 (3-star)||3-star||83 (3-star)||74 (2-star)||Jul 25|
|Chris Wormley||DE||5.7 (3-star)||4-star||96 (4-star)||80 (4-star)||Jul 31|
|Ondre Pipkins||DT||6.1 (5-star)||4-star||96 (4-star)||80 (4-star)||Aug 8|
|Drake Johnson||RB||5.6 (3-star)||3-star||85 (3-star)||72 (2-star)||Nov 10|
|Amara Darboh||WR||5.8 (4-star)||4-star||93 (4-star)||78 (3-star)||Dec 4|
|Jehu Chesson||WR||5.6 (3-star)||3-star||89 (3-star)||79 (3-star)||Dec 21|
|Willie Henry||DT||5.6 (3-star)||3-star||83 (3-star)||75 (3-star)||Jan 31|
|Dennis Norfleet||RB||5.8 (4-star)||4-star||94 (4-star)||75 (3-star)||Feb 1|
Considering how good things looked last July, people on the boards and whatnot are kinda disappointed that the class finished as only consensus Top 10. This was back when nobody but Ohio State thought its cars-for-commitments program would continue, if there even would be such a thing as Columbus when The Law was through with them.
But with no 'Pryor' testimony available, the NCAA effectively rubber-stamped the automotive business, OSU turned in their slightly used Tresselwagon for a shiny refurbished Urban model and the Big Ten race went from this in July:
…today. The above is a visualization of Michigan's 2012 class final rankings by Rivals and doesn't count Caleb Stacey and Anthony Standifer, who were in the class at the time. The red is 6.1, the yellow 5.8, yellow-green 5.7, everything right of the line is 3-stars. The link takes you back to July 18, when I used the same graphical representation to show just how good it was to be a Michigan Wolverine.
It wasn't just Ohio State blue was beating. Michigan was killing in the conference. This was then:
…and this is now:
Penn State's scandal turned them into Northwestern, while Ohio State's wasn't enough to counter the Urban effect. Michigan held steady but those late whiffs ended up with a class that's largely balanced between blue chips and the 60%-likely-to-be-"solid"-or-better-as-upperclassmen guys.
That's still good for among the top teams in the country:
Now this is Michigan, fergodsakes. More importantly Michigan, who by last July was already well extended into Ohio territory didn't seem to fall victim to the great Buckeye Reclamation of home state products late in the process. Gant, a legacy, and Wormley were Toledo-ish guys long considered Michigan's barring strange circumstances. Kaleb Ringer, A.J. Williams, and Willie Henry come from schools and have profiles that might have been automatic Buckeyes in a typical Tressel cycle but were probably second options for Meyer's late push. But I have to imagine Jarrod Wilson received a desperate phone call before he enrolled at Michigan in January, and we know Kyle Kalis did. In return Meyer convinced Bri'onte Dunn, a Tressel commit worried about the sanctions, to stay in the fold and beat Michigan head to head for Armani Reeves after he shook loose from Penn State's class. That's 2 for 4 in head-to-head battles in Ohio with Ohio State's new coach. This is important; if we're going to travel back in time to battle Buckeyes on their own turf, it's important to plant Woody Hayes or one of his ancestors in manure every 30 years or so.
So did we make it? Are we back?
We're back, but it's an alternate 2005, when 4-stars are just plain 4-stars not Taylor and Jamison and Antonio Bass, and the 3-stars are mostly the good type of 3-stars—Gordon-like 3-stars as opposed to lots of Mister Simpsons and Nerd Terminators. More importantly there's just more of everybody, and the old defensive line coach is rich and powerful and the head coach at Michigan, and the guy at West Virginia has been committed.
Many of the key contributors from the classes before this experienced above normal attrition. By some of the decisions made during this year's cycle—backing off Yuri Wright after his expulsion, and seemingly backing off a rumored grade risk in one of the top in-state prospects, hopefully Hoke's excellent class of of 2012 will make up for in staying power what it lost by the slow close.
Wasn't Jordan Kovacs a walk-on?
I guarantee nobody would play down ratings...lets not act like they don't matter b/c we aren't ranked higher. There is a reason Bama/LSU and the SEC have ran off 5-6 straight titles. They have better players (mainly b/c they cheat but thats a different story). Better recruits equals more wins. I'm just glad UM is back in the top 10 range. Would be better if we beat OSU given their turmoil but we'll have to settle for 2nd for now. Now we just need to keep winning and get into the top 5 range consistently...and ahead of OSU.
co-signed: Clemson, South Carolina, Florida State, Notre Dame, Miami, Texas (and on and on and on and on)
Evaluating probability by pointing out anomalies isn't effective. Furthermore, I don't think anybody is discounting the huge effect that coaching has on a team's success. Good coaching is imperative, just as good recruiting is.
I'm just sick of people getting all competitive over a competition that doesn't matter. If UM turns out to have passed up on a couple of 5-stars they determined were overrated head cases and their discretion made us #2 to tOSU. . . well, good.
I don't think they don't matter, I just think there's a hell of a margin of error when evaluating HS talent, so pretty much anything in the top 10% nationally is likely to be as competitive as any other. The rest comes down to how the talent develops, how the playbook utilizes their abilities, executing, a little luck, etc. Sure, any team that hopes to compete with Alabama or LSU had better have a lot of highly rated recruits. But as far as I'm concerned, we're there. I'm not going to get all butthurt over "losing" to tOSU in recruiting when that's hardly a given -- nor would I get excited if U-M ended up "winning" this facet of the game. Flip the numbers and the situation is the same for me -- I'm glad U-M did well enough to make the Top 10, THAT matters, but beyond that there's nothing conclusive about comparing any two results within sniffing distance of each other. You'll just have to take my word on that.
It's about probability of obtaining "solid" players at every position. A team filled with guys who play at, say, 2010 Ryan Van Bergen level is going to be a likley conference champion and national contender.
We can estimate those probabilities from past classes:
So if I have a class of 12 4-stars and 12 3-stars I'm probably going to have 6 or 7 (plus or minus) solid starters from that class when they're seniors and redshirt juniors. If you have a class of 12 3-stars and 12 2-stars you'll probably have one or two such players.
If half the 4-stars are "busts" or transfers or lost to injury, that's kind of expected, and why you want more of those guys.
Hoke's 2012 class is likely to produce about 8 to 10 (plus or minus) solid starters by the time they're seniors. That's almost half of the starting spots on the team. Repeat this four times and the odds of having a "solid" guy at every position become very good.
I'm just curious - I've been looking for a study along those lines?
I've been working on a study along those lines for a long time. I almost published as a diary before I was working for Brian. Alas the Rich Rod years ruined my data by having an inordinate amount of busts and transfers and guys who might not have sucked but for Gibson minus all the points and since my ability to effectively rate every individual athlete drops off considerably outside of guys who played for Michigan it's nowhere near good enough to use as a college-wide or even trustable Michigan-wide metric.
So far the best available metric for this is post-season awards, but the problem with that is it's mostly binary based on a metric that is hugely subjective, e.g. Brandon Graham wasn't All-Big Ten in 2009, but Dan Rumishek was in 2002 because the 2002 defense was really good on paper and the 2009 defense was really terrible on football fields.
The next best way people have calced this is where the player is drafted by the NFL, since draft position is very directly related to talent. However that's not great because a guy like Denard Robinson or Jordan Kovacs is a far more valuable player to a college team than his draft stock would represent and other than the Lions and Michigan players making Michigan look more awesome, I really don't give a fuck about how good an NFL player a guy will be.
Mathlete and I went back and forth awhile ago on a concept of combining his PAN metric with my recruiting database (which uses Rivals, Scout, ESPN and valuation of offers), but I let my database lapse and he didn't really want to share the PAN database like that, and now he's working on doing this himself.
So my numbers are basically Michigan's success rate from 2002 through 2007, rounded sharply to make things easier on myself. Since the +/- is so huge with recruiting, it's good enough to make the point that recruiting is legit, yo, but not a truly effective predictor.
So you're the [stinking bum] who's been stealing all my newspapers...
Denard doesn't need no stinking delorean
It's amazing that what is arguably our best class (2008) in terms of Rivals rankings turned out to be such a complete flop. Here's all our 4 stars from that class -
Stonum (Rivals100) - so so career, but ultimately a disappointment since he was ranked the #41 player in the country
Cissoko (Rivals100) - complete bust
O'Neill (Rivals100) - complete bust/transferred
Shaw (Rivals250) - bust
Koger (Rivals250) - solid
Fitzgerald (Rivals250) - bust
Brandon Smith (Rivals250) - complete bust/transferred
Moore (Rivals250) - bust (guess he could still have a stellar 5th year in 2012)
Martin (Rivals250) - STUD
Mealer (Rivals250) - bust
Witherspoon (Rivals250) - complete bust/transferred
Hill (Rivals250) - complete bust/transferred
Barnum - so so
Demens - solid
McGuffie - complete bust/transferred
T Robinson - complete bust
Roundtree - stud
Our best recruit besides Martin is arguably 2-star Omameh
It really comes down to whether:
1) the coaches can develop raw talent into on-the-field performance
2) the coaches can get kids who have the drive to succeed and the perserverance to stick it out even when it's harder than anticipated
When I look at the recruiting classes we pulled in under late-Lloyd and RR, I see a lot of kids who were failed by #1 or failed #2.
That 2008 class is a joke, in terms of our success rate with the recruits. By your estimations, with added grade equivalents, the 4-stars play out like this:
2 studs (A)
2 solids (B)
2 so-so (C)
4 busts (D)
7 complete busts/transfers (F)
If we were to calculate a GPA from that, it would be: 1.29
Really god awful, that.
What impresses me about this class isn't that it's our highest ranked class in 4 years, but that we seem to have been super selective according to character. We should do much better on #2 than the 2008 class, and judging by what Mattison did turning around the 2010 defense, we should do much better on #1 too.
You nailed this analysis. Looking at this year's incoming class, what impresses me most is the character of the kids. Assuming that Kalis doesn't get arrested for manslaughter during his first OSU game and PeeWee doesn't quit football to start a Vegas show impersonating famous football coaches, I expect that the attrition from this class will be unusually low, and that this will pay huge dividends (when combined with your #1 re: coaches developing players) in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
My view of Hoke's recruiting is that he may not always take the highest rated classes, and he may never pull in the top-rated player in the country, but that he is building an incredibly solid foundation for the long term, loaded with 4-star quality talent.
I'm confident that we will have some pretty tight knit groups that play as a team really well. Looking at this last year it was clear that the team was greater than the sum of its parts. This is a sign of good coaching a bodes well for the future.
I just hope we sprinkle in just enough 5 star studs so that we have a couple of game changers on both sides of the ball. Sometimes you just need playmakers to make plays and those are the most likely types to do that. I'm confident that some of these will be coached up to these levels too, I just wouldn't mind having the occasional freak too. Like a Sammy Watkins, Lattimore, Trent Richardson..etc
I agree with you on the point of still needing 5-star talent. At the end of the day, coaching will only get you so far and there is a need to have a few athletic freaks on the roster to take over a game. While you can obviously have late bloomers, under-ranked guys or coached-up players dominate, the probability is highest that a 5-star will fit the mold of game-changer.
I think most fans say this about their class before they step foot on campus, but until their college careers are over and we can look back and say definitively, I'm not sure we can say "well this class is clearly more mature than others" at the moment. Looking back on OSU's class of '08 (which was ranked #1 universally from what I remember....4 5-stars, 9 guys in the Rivals100), there was talk about it being such a close knit class (Pryor/Posey were best buds before even stepping foot on campus....Brewster was recruiting kids to OSU the moment he committed) and how they were all in for OSU, going to win multiple nat'l championships. They ended up with 1 legitimate BCS win, a fired coach and a school on probation. And while I'll give you that you could probably see it coming with Pryor before he showed up on campus (and maybe Tressel is still coach if you subtract Pryor from this class), there was no way you would have thought that class would be such a detrimental one on signing day....in fact, given the how close knit they were, you would have thought they'd go down in OSU folklore.
Your assessment of that class is spot on and I hope that people don't neg the post because it is brutally honest.
Some obvious caveats do apply here:
1. Coaching change. Many of these guys were recruited by LC and were far better suited to his system, so the coaching change and the change in philosophy hurt them. Not blaming the players or RR, just a fact that several of these guys didn't fit well in the new system, hence the transfers.
2. Defensive coaching - enough players on Team 132 have come out and said that the prior defensive coaching staff didn't teach fundamentals and didn't really teach how to watch tape that, even if there were any doubt, we can conclusively say that the RR-era defensive coaching staff flat out sucked. Let's avoid the RR debate on this, and leave him out of it since he was more focussed on offense (as Hoke is more focussed on defense, so not a criticism). But, that piss poor defensive staff likely hurt the development of several of these kids. Better coaching would likely have turned one or two of these busts into solids.
3. Overall team atmosphere. I am trying to tiptoe around the RR issue here to svoid a fight, but without assigning blame between the media, RR, LC, Brandon, the Smurfs, Ron Zook (just seems like he deserves blame for existing) or Tom Brady's wife, the atmpsphere surrounding the team was pretty toxis for most of these guys careers. Some guys like Mike Martin can shrug it off and be awesome regardless. But others, like, say, Booboo, don't do well in such an environment. This likely contributed to one or two of the "busts."
I wouldn't call Shaw a bust. A solid Big Ten player, no he wasn't, so I guess fine by this rationale he wasn't a "success." On the other hand Shaw was a glue guy on this team, part of the core that raised Team 132 to epic levels of rootability. Shaw contributed with his speed and had a few good games, and wasn't all that far off his recruiting profile, which was Carlos Brown 2.0. Was he a 4-star? Probably no, though it's hard to see his speed in retrospect and say you wouldn't give him a similar rating as a recruit.
He was a net boon to Michigan and worth the scholarship in every way. At various points he was the nominal starter at RB, and I think at one point the coaches thought they needed him there enough that he wasn't considered for a possible switch to defensive back when during his career the DBs were almost completely depleted. I dunno -- I hate seeing Shaw with a negative word next to his name I guess.
If you strip out mop up duty against WMU, EMU and Minnesota, Shaw had 18 carries for 82 yards his senior year....not exactly what you would hope for from the guy ranked #102 in the country coming out of HS. I like Shaw the person, but for pure football output, he was a disappointment....ditto Carlos Brown.
And just to note, my judgements were relative to rankings....i.e. if Stonum and Roundtree were switched, I'd give both a "solid" ranking....maybe even so so for Roundtree, but probably lean towards solid considering he still has 1 year left.
I'm getting tired of these disappointing 11-2 seasons. And the 884-308-36 overall record...pathetic. I would just like to start seeing some significant wins! If we beat Notre Dame, Nebraska, and Ohio State, then win a BCS bowl game, maybe I'll be satisfied. But, probably not.
But it was our first BCS win since when???
again great start and lots of people are excited. Nothing wrong with wanting some more. We're fans, we're aloud to be greedy.
is weed out 'the busts' and 'transfers' and reloads with other potential stars. So the oversigning results in much better quality of recruits over time.
If you pull in 2 additional 4 stars every year due to this - you are guaranteeing yourself atleast 4 starters which is the difference between a good team and a great team.
Or is it just raw talent and their individual performance against high school talent?
Football is a team sport. Clearly raw talent is important as is drive etc but top level college ball is a big step from high school. There is a tremedous amount to learn, and each athlete must put team performance a head of their personal goals. We measure coaches in part by how well they blend their top talent into the team.
I wonder if an eighteen year old who has been pursued by ten top programs because they have been a star athlete since they were in 8th grade is going to prove "coachable", especially when suddenly they are up against competition that were also star athletes.
I don't really want analysts guessing at coachability as well. I'd rather they focus on technique, athletic ability, size, etc...
Coachability is obviously important, but that's just such a black box that Rivals/Scout aren't going to do anyone any good by guessing at it.
Gotta admit, I'm impressed with the writing and knowledge available on here. I visit a couple times a week for the thoughts and analysis about our rivals and will admit that you guys do things right. But the Jarrod Wilson throw in was strange. He never had an offer from Ohio State and no one has ever indicated that Urban ever showed any interest. He was never even offered by the old staff. So calling that a recruiting win over Urban is completely out of left field. The Kalis win, definitely. Hoke won that battle straight up because he can recruit. But Wilson was never a battle since Ohio State didn't go for him.
I can't find it now but I thought I saw something around x-mas about OSU being interested in Wilson, but I'll take your word for it.
The point remains that Hoke had several commits on par with MSU/Wisconsin losses and didn't lose anybody. This was such an odd year though that picking out what Michigan/Ohio State/Penn State recruiting in Ohio will look like in the future from this class is hard to do. I think Reeves is a guy who'd normally be an OSU-PSU battle but who even knows if Penn State will get off the mat with O'Brien or if they're even a power program without Joe Pa.
Agreed. This year will be a fun year for recruiting since both Hoke and Meyer will be set in. I think Hoke will continue to do well in Ohio. He's got too many ties to the state and is too much of a perfect fit for Michigan not to do well. The battle for Dymonte will be interesting to watch as I know Meyer and Dunn will go after him. For now, he seems all Michigan, but there's a year left. Hopefully we win it. The biggest thing to me is how will the rest of the conference react to Hoke and Meyer.
but it would be interesting to see what these graphs look like centered in the middle of the 5.7 group, rather than using the line between 5.7 and 5.8 as the mid-point. Reason being is I seem to recall that there's a significant statistical difference between the 5.7 group and the rest of the 3-stars, and that they tend to perform pretty close to their 5.8 4-star counterparts. As presented, the graphs tend to reflect the 5.7 group as a negative (closer to all other 3 and 2-stars), where relatively they are probably better reflected closer to a neutral. These borderline 4-star guys are often highly sought after by good teams, and probably deserve more of the benefit of the doubt than the rest of the 3 and 2 stars.
Our recruiting class actually got better as the year went on. What changed? OSU's class got a LOT better. Considering we only lost one recruit who was actually considering both and not committed to either, I'm not sure what we could have done to prevent that. Ohio is going to get good recruits regardless. So if you're saying our recruiting class needs helps because it had a slow close, rather than a slow start but a fast close, like the Buckeyes, I'm not see the endgame difference, other than how worked up one gets over it.
Yes, but for every recruit we picked up on the left hand side of the line (i.e. 4+ star), we picked one up on the right hand side (i.e. 3- star)....whereas OSU barely picked up anybody on the right hand side and a TON on the left hand side. Having said that, this is still an OSU class that's in line with their classes over the past 10 years or so.
All I care about is that Hoke continues to have success in Ohio with kids that also have offers from OSU.
As several people have said, they are ALWAYS going to have good classes, because of the depth and breadth of talent in the state of Ohio, and the lack of other marquee programs in-state. Thankfully for us, there's more good talent in the state of Ohio than the school of Ohio can assimilate, and our brand is also strong there. If we can recruit the state of Ohio like Hoke has done this year, then we're also going to have good classes ever year.
The real losers in this arrangement are the other schools of the Big 10. Sparty clearly can't recruit the state of Michigan against us, and can't recruit the state of Ohio against a not-so-gentlemanly Ohio. None of the others can either, and besides that, they don't have the national pull we do, or Ohio does.
Oddly, we seem to be locked into an arguably, and uncomfortably, mutually beneficial arrangement, in which we reconstruct the Big 2/Little 8 for the new decade.
I love these visualizations, Seth. Thanks for putting this together.