I heard Mallett removed the "DO NOT REMOVE UNDER PENALTY OF LAW" tag from his mattress while he was at U-M.
Upperclass Argh: Carr's Recruiting Fade
2007: The Disaster
I was scanning some message board or another and came across a statement about the '07 recruiting class and how it was dooming Michigan this year, so I took a look. The conclusion: holy pants, what a disaster. Here they are by position group they'd are or would be playing on this year's team, with available players bolded.
QB: Ryan Mallett is doing well… at Arkansas.
RB: Vince Helmuth transferred to Miami(Not That Miami), where he has zero carries. Avery Horn left school and was at Reedley CC in California last year. He's not there this year, but he's not anywhere else, either.
WR: Junior Hemingway is a starter. Zion Babb landed at a JUCO after getting the boot and was supposed to transfer to Colorado but didn't make it. Toney Clemons did make it to CU; he's their second-leading receiver with 18 catches for 219 yards.
OL: David Molk is going to be a four-year starter. Mark Huyge is the first guy off the bench at either tackle position and started all of last year.
TE: Martell Webb is a co-starter with Kevin Koger and has been a four-year contributor but not a star.
DL: Ryan Van Bergen is an above-average Big Ten player. Renaldo Sagesse is a backup who gets spot snaps. Steve Watson moved from TE to DE and is this year's David Cone.
LB: JUCO Austin Panter is out of eligibility. Marell Evans transferred to I-AA Hampton. Brandon Herron is Craig Roh's backup when he's healthy.
DB: James Rogers is a very bad starter. Donovan Warren was a multi-year starter who made a bad decision to leave for the NFL. Michael Williams is buried on the depth chart and headed for a medical hardship because of concussions. Artis Chambers transferred to Ball State but is not on the roster. Troy Woolfolk's ankle exploded.
Total contributors from the redshirt junior/senior class
WR: 1, Hemingway.
OL: 2, Molk and Huyge.
TE: 1, Webb.
DL: 2, Van Bergen and Sagesse.
LB: 1, Herron.
DB: 1, Rogers. (Woolfolk was a success but would displace Rogers from this list if healthy.)
Of the guys who are gone, exactly two contribute to a I-A team: Mallett and Clemons. That's like six genuinely good football players out of 20 (Mallett, Hemingway, Molk, RVB, Warren, Woolfolk). That is not a successful recruiting class.
2008: The Divide
2008, divided into Rodriguez and Carr sections. JT Floyd and Brandon Smith committed post-RR but had Michigan as their leader for so long before that they are categorized as Carr guys. The two decommits aren't considered, but Wienke is a third-stringer at Iowa and TE Christian Wilson has eight catches in his career at UNC.
The Rodriguez dossier
QB: Justin "Win At All Costs" Feagin got in trouble and is gone.
RB: Michael Shaw is probably the starting tailback if healthy.
WR: Terrence Robinson is a marginal contributor. Martavious Odoms and Roy Roundtree are productive starters when healthy.
OL: Patrick Omameh is starting as a redshirt sophomore. Ricky Barnum is the primary backup at guard and should be a two-year starter.
LB: Taylor Hill transferred two weeks after arriving. He is a productive player at I-AA Youngstown State.
Six of eight guys are still around with five of them looking like successes, pending Barnum moving into the lineup next year.
The Carr dossier
RB: Mike Cox is fourth string behind Shaw and younger folks. Sam McGuffie got concussed three times in his freshman year and transferred to Rice, where he's their leading rusher.
WR: Darryl Stonum is a starter.
TE: Kevin Koger is a co-starter with Webb; Brandon Moore is still on the team but has not seen meaningful snaps.
OL: Dann O'Neill transferred to WMU, where he is a starter. Kurt Wermers transferred to Ball State after flunking out and complaining about how RR was bringing in people who "weren't his kind of crowd." Rocko Khoury is Molk's backup and did okay against Iowa. Elliot Mealer looks like a career backup at guard.
DL: Mike Martin is awesome.
LB: Marcus Witherspoon never enrolled because of a Clearinghouse issue. Kenny Demens just got his first start and looked pretty good. JB Fitzgerald has been buried behind Mouton and then Roh.
DB: Brandon Smith was too slow to play DB, didn't want to play linebacker, transferred to Temple, and promptly washed out. Boubacar Cissoko got pulled from the starting lineup for performance reasons, was kicked off the team, and saw his life spiral out of control. JT Floyd is in the starting lineup by necessity.
Ten of sixteen guys are still around with… uh. Stonum, Koger, and Martin are obvious successes. Demens and Floyd are contributors. Fitzgerald, Cox, Moore, Khoury and Mealer are looking like either career backups or meh senior starters on par with Greg Banks, though in Khoury's case he's locked behind a very good player.
This isn't a Yet Another Defense Of Rich Rodriguez post, it's Yet Another Roster Implosion Explanation post. (All right: some of both.)
In retrospect the #12 2007 class was overrated. Vastly so.
At the time the line was about the two hyped five stars and the "high upside" guys behind them who were underrated by the services and so forth and so on. The two five stars mostly lived up to that hype, but Mallett did it at Arkansas because of the coaching transition* and Warren took off for the NFL because he thought he was still that good. Meanwhile, the high upside guys mostly can't play football. Even if everyone from the class was still around Michigan would be suffering. Save Mallett, no one who left would see the field. Maybe Artis Chambers would provide some help in the secondary, but he moved to linebacker before his transfer and washed out at Ball State—it's hard to see him displacing Kovacs.
It should have been obvious that recruiting was going in the toilet when Michigan made two desperate reaches at linebacker, grabbing a JUCO guy and a two-star with one other offer(Temple), then made a desperate reach to get a second offensive lineman in the class. But three different groups are proving that subscription models can work on the internet because hope is impervious to reason.
Michigan bounced back in 2008, but a lot of that was the late Rodriguez additions. One man's listing of the top ten recruits in that class, Rodriguez guys bolded:
- Mike Martin
- Patrick Omameh
- Roy Roundtree
- Martavious Odoms
- Kevin Koger
- Michael Shaw
- Darryl Stonum
- Kenny Demens
- Ricky Barnum
- Rocko Khoury
RR's strike rate on 2008 recruits was considerably higher than Carr's, as Michigan seemed like a magnet for overrated guys. Witherspoon, Cissoko, Smith, O'Neill, McGuffie, Fitzgerald, Moore, and Stonum have all under-performed relative to expectations, with only Martin exceeding them. You can make a case that coaching has something to do with it but I believe evaluations are a major factor. From time to time a guy who knows an NFL scout relays his impressions (this year's theme: "Michigan has nothing on defense except for Martin. Who is this Rogers guy?") and from day one this guy said O'Neill was way too stiff and would not work out. Similarly, it's hard to imagine just what position Brandon Smith was going to play in the Big Ten.
Class of 2008 departures who might see the field this year are… well… Cissoko? Definite nos: Wermers, O'Neill, Feagin. Very probable nos: Hill (OLB; would not beat out Mouton or Roh), Witherspoon (could not find the field at Rutgers and washed out), and Smith (like Cam Gordon except worse).
So. Michigan's 2007 class was a disaster and attrition from it did not matter save Warren's early NFL entry. The two thirds of Michigan's 2008 class acquired by Carr was appreciably better but still not so good; Rodriguez's late additions brought it up to something approximating an average Michigan recruiting class when it comes to on-field success.
(By the way: Rodriguez's second class is looking divergent as hell. Massive nuclear strikes at QB and OL, yet another disaster of a DB class—Witty, Emilien, and Turner are all gone and Mike Jones is a linebacker.)
I heard Mallett removed the "DO NOT REMOVE UNDER PENALTY OF LAW" tag from his mattress while he was at U-M.
I wouldn't negbang this, nothing out of reason. I personally don't think Mallet would have hung around anyway (rumors I heard on campus at the time is that he was still lovesick for an old flame in Texarkana and was having trouble fitting in generally) and perhaps the same might have been true for Boren with his family connection down there. I personally blame Appy State, and probably Ron English by extension.
have some courtesy and common sense. Unlike many other posters on this board.
On your point though, you could be right about Mallet and as someone else below mentioned, Mallet was a pain in the arse from what I heard on campus.
was a DERP but RR brought in a grand total of how many OL last year? How about the massive DERPING by RR on db's in his time here? What is the position that is sucking balls on our team right now? oh yeah, thats right the secondary!
To be fair, the linebackers aren't exactly lighting the world on fire, either. :-)
We have 8 freshmen/sophomores on the roster. Two of those guys are starters already, one played a ton against Iowa (Khoury), and four more are blue-chip recruits (even if the Washington move goes through it brings Will Campbell over to the o-line).
Throw in the fact that we are bringing in 4-5 more guys this year (3 already committed) and that is a position group I am not worried about at all.
Papochronopolis post below. Carr had his hand in the Secondary depth too.
2007 has been a pet issue with me for about a year. Maybe you caught me ranting, but that means you were perusing the Scorn. If so, jump in man.
2007 was the recruiting cycle that Michigan signed exactly ZERO recruits from Ohio, while almost everyone of our Big 10 foes signed multiple players off the top-60 list.......and I've mentioned both here and at the WLA that if you were to re-rank the 2007 class based on production at said school, then Michigan would fall from #1 to near the bottom.
There is a reason we have little upperclassmen depth. This class is one of them. There is a reason we dont have as talented a roster as the rest of the Big 10. This class is one of them.
I'll leave it to others to assign blame and explanations. Thats not my bag.
Regardless, thanks for pointing this out Brian. I think it speaks a lot towards our roster ills.
The '09 defensive class looks like a complete fiasco outside of Roh right now. Campbell is a bust of Kevin Grady-ish proportions, Lalota is gone, Emilien and Turner are gone. Jones is ???. Bell is nowhere to be found on the worst depth chart in Michigan history. Hawthorne sounds like another mediocre "hybrid" bandit/spur athlete on a team that absolutely does not need any more of those. Adrian Witty didn't make it in. The '10 class came in with meh accolades and the highest rated guy in the group (Christian) looks like he was badly overrated. Dorsey never even made it to campus. Furman is a huge project and the staff has a very poor track record when it comes to player development. Davion Rogers is gone and even if he had stayed probably wouldn't have played for a few years, if ever. Regardless of whether you think it's RichRod's fault that Carr's 4* guys didn't perform, it doesn't appear that he has done much better in defensive recruiting.
because Lloyd was still around roaming the halls and confusing the freshmen with poor defensive advice. RR is NOT TO BLAME.
Are you looking to become the new tomhagan?
Hannibal's post. Would you care to refute any of his points?
"in rod we trust" yet now you're bashing him.
So... How's that name working out? Does it feel like the Justin turner tattoo now?
time. Simply pointing out that blaming all the world's ill's on Lloyd is the same as ND fans blaming everything on TW.
I've also been around these parts long enough to remember how you started out as a troll of epic proportions and needed thousands of points as bailout from Brian because he couldn't stand your whining.
An idiot but I was never a troll.
one of the greatest scientists in my field. But I still dog him for not recognizing Tesla's genius.
Why is it so hard for folks around here to recognize that it is okay to think someone is right for a job and yet criticize them for their mistakes ? That just reeks of the "You're either with us or against us mentality",
3 are starters already (the two Gordons and Roh) and one is a presumptive favorite to start next year (Mike Jones). It isn't the best class ever, but you aren't really digging yourself a hole with a recruiting class if 5-6 guys on each side of the ball end up as quality starters by their junior/senior seasons (meaning you can/should have nothing but upperclassmen starting unless they get beat out by more talented youngsters).
Cam might be a starter but he is horribly out of position and should be playing "spur" or "bandit" (along with about 15 other "hybrid" athletes that we have). He may have made a great linebacker with a couple years of lifting, but we'll probably never know now. Thomas G. might be an adequate starter. Regardless, out of three 4* recruits and one 5* recruit on defense, only one of them is even still on defense.
That would be good in a couple years with lifting" oh right because we have no fucking upperclassmen left on the team from LCs last classes.
How hard is this to fucking understand?
People seem to be judging defensive recruiting by the misses rather than the guys we have. If you looked at all the blue-chip running back recruits who didn't do shit under Lloyd Carr, you would think he fucked up recruiting there. 4-5 star recruits are as likely to flame out as not, no matter who the coach is. What matters is the guys who stay. Our team has 12 freshmen and sophomores on the roster at defensive back. When those guys are juniors/seniors they will be a tremendous unit.
The defense doesn't suck because Rodriguez hasn't recruited defense, it sucks because there is one upperclassman healthy enough to see the field at defensive back. That problem is in part caused by the fact that Coach Carr did not sign enough DB's in his last few classes (and the problem has been compounded by bad luck with Warren/Woolfolk this year).
When those guys are juniors/seniors they will be a tremendous unit.
What evidence have you seen that says this? Kovacs is already at his MAC level ceiling. All of the corners are highly questionable in their talent level and won't necessarily get a lot better. Christian has zero coverage skills and that was supposed to be his strength. Floyd and Talbott were low 3-star recruits, and Floyd pretty much plays like it. We don't know about Talbott yet. Avery looks like he's got upside. Given that Tony Gibson is still coaching these guys, I'm not holding my breath waiting for improvement. Cam Gordon could play for 15 years and he will never be a good fit at free safety. The best that we can hope for is that he wont' be a liability. It's a lot less of a reach to say that the '09 defensive class is a big disappointment than it is to say that we'll get meaningful production out of the numerous meh DB and LB recruits in the class.
It might be too early to judge our '09 and '10 classes, but I can think of lots of first and second year guys who have contributed more in past years than the first and second year guys on our defense now. Larry Foote, William Petersen, Jarrett Irons, Steve Morrison, David Bowens, Dhani Jones, to name but a few. If we had young guys like that, I'd be more optimistic, but it doesn't look like we do. The only guy who fits in with that group appears to be Roh.
Also, everyone is forgetting that Rodriguez did have a Michigan defense that was loaded with upperclassmen at one time. Five seniors and three juniors. That was the '08 defense, and it was total a fiasco.
Guys play much better as juniors/seniors than they do as freshmen/sophomores. I think this is pretty well documented. You are making wild assumptions about the progress/performance of freshmen players and overstating their struggles. They are playing like young guys, we just have way more of them on the field than anybody else for the reasons mentioned in this piece by Brian. You are also underestimating the importance of depth/competition. This team has 11 healthy (meaning simply not out for the season with injury) scholarship upperclassmen on defense (and only one of those guys plays in the secondary). If you can find another team with anything close to a number that low, I guarantee they suck at playing defense too.
If you don't think the 23 guys in the freshman/sophomore classes (a group that already makes up more than half our starting lineup and virtually all of our second team depth) and any recruits we add the next year or two won't develop into a quality defense, then you just have zero faith in the coaching staff. That is a fine opinion to have, I just strongly disagree with it.
The 2007 class is/would be seniors this year, and the 2008 class is/would be juniors. Evaluating the 2009 class would be a bit premature at this point.
I also don't think Brian is excusing RR's 2009-2010 classes, he's just looking at what should be the upperclassmen for MICH.
Furman is a huge project and the staff has a very poor track record when it comes to player development.
Ryan Mundy. Stevie Brown. Brandon Graham (from 300lb DT to destroyer of worlds).
(which is barely what 2/3 guys on that list did) then the staff gets 100% credit.
If a player flames out, then it must be one of:
1. Guy was stupid
2. Guy was too fat and not willing to work
How do you know Graham wouldn't have been a beast under Carr-English? Woodley et al seem to do pretty well under the old regime.
I know Ryan Mundy and Stevie Brown were not "beasts" under Carr-English.
either. They were barely serviceable.
Brown was our best linebacker by far last year, got drafted and is currently contributing in the NFL. Mundy went the same route at WVU, making 11 tackles in their Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma, getting drafted, and contributing (on special teams mostly) in the NFL. All after being complete disasters under Carr-English.
If those guys were "barely serviceable" I'll be happy to take 9 more just like them and we'd have a damn good defense.
He was our best linebacker!!!!!!!
He's in the NFL and so is mundy.
Yeah they totally blow...
If we buy the company line here, saying Brown was our best linebacker isn't exactly saying a lot. He was a sophomore under Carr-English and was a situational player who wasn't a starting safety or nickel back, just as you'd expect from a sophomore. Rodriguez - Shaefer left Brown hanging at deep safety for a full year when it was obvious he was out of his league. Woolfolk was on that roster to either play cb or safety. Brown succeeded when moved to a more obvious position, but let's not pretend it didn't take GERG to recognize that he was out of position.
IMHE, the program's issues are defensive recruiting and retention. A problem that began circa 2004 and continues to this day. It was a problem when Rich got here and he hasnt really effectively solved it. At first, he tried to solve it with numbers, but as you've detailed a lot of those numbers have already left. I dont know what the answer is other than to keep recruiting and see what happens, but it is frustrating that this has been such an issue for so long.
Although Brian, I disagree with you on Stonum. Underachieved per expectations? I think that's wrong. Go back and look at the Rival 4-star WR from that class. Through 2.5 years not many more have been as productive, and, good grief, look at the QB issues he and all the WRs have had to deal with.
I think you're being too harsh on him. That parallel universe we talk about a lot, one where say Mallett is still here, we would not be having these talks about Stunum. The kid is doing fine, all things being considered.
Also, he was apparently blind until recently. Not bad production, considering.
the problem. What's the solution? How do we get guys who aren't going to transfer or be bad? This latest class already had Dorsey not be able to clear admissions. This whole thing of finding good players who can still academically qualify at Michigan is getting rough.
By what measure?
Here are his numbers for tackles, TFLs, and sacks through 7 games, courtesy of MGoBlue.com:
5 solo, 7 assist tackles for 12 total; 3.5 TFLs; 2.0 sacks
Those numbers mean that he is completely absent from the list of leaders in those categories on the official Big Ten website I just checked. When you consider that MM is absorbing double-teams on virtually every play, Van Bergen's numbers are hardly impressive. He's not much different from the Van Alstynes, Pauls, Bowmans, and Heuers we've had in the recent past: hard-working, team-oriented, and true Michigan men all, but in terms of on-field impact, basically serviceable and that's it. I really don't understand why so many seem to think he's such a stud DL.
I wouldn't say McGuffie was overrated - he has been a pretty decent player when healthy, and most of the fluff had to do with his Youtube video, which is not really relevant from a talent standpoint.
As for Carr/RR recruiting split, I think it is clear that the last couple of Carr years were not of the highest caliber, but the bottoming out of defensive recruits has been a trend that continued under RR. Sure, sometimes you'll have a bad year or two, but this has been a trend that is going to make life very difficult for the next couple of years. Sure, Roh looks good and Bell should see some significant playing time next year, but Campbell and Lalota have still not panned out (Lalota is gone), and I'm not sure if any of the guys from last year's group are going to become studs unless you think Ash, Christian, and Marvin Robinson are going to make great strides after a full offseason. And my concern is that looking at the class this year, I still don't see the stud defensive players this team needs to succeed. I trust that RR can make gold out of lead on offense; he may not have the same magic on the other side of the ball.
I agree with almost everything you've said, but I think you are vastly jumping the gun on this year's freshman class
I agree that recruiting classes at big schools are almost always overrated, but the issue is more that the hidden diamonds that make good teams great have not panned out for years. I mean, there has not been an impact "meh" recruit on the defense in, what, 4-5 years? Woolfolk isn't even that good and he is the only guy I can think of who performed even a bit about his rankings. That is what is scary - this team has done well enough recruiting offensive talent, but unless you are a big-time defensive recruit (and even then, maybe only 50% of the time they have worked out), you are not going to be a great contributor at UM. That's largely why Kouvacs, for all his grit, is maybe the 3rd-4th best player on the defensive side of the ball.
But I do think that this team will survive and improve, and if that means the offense has to put up big numbers to keep them in games, so be it. UM has always been able to churn out good defenses given enough time, and maybe some of the low-ranked players the past 2 RR classes will pan out. I'm not ready to write Campbell off, and Christian may very well become an All Big-10 safety in the coming years. Time will tell.
Woolfolk's injury doesn't count as "attrition." Brian already counted Warren as a guy who would contribute if still here. Clemons is an OK receiver, but that's not exactly a position of need for us now. That leaves Mallett, and I think we're OK with the QB we've got now, who clearly fits the current system better than Mallett would.
Well that explains why we have no experience in the secondary...
2006 we landed one CB and a S who were both actually LBs
2007 we landed 2 CBs, and 2 S, only one is playing and he can probly be classified as a bust (thankfully we get Woolfolk back)
2008 we landed 2 CBs and 1 S, one of which is playing and would be a solid nickelback as a RS Soph (but is our #1)
Seeing this makes me feel somewhat better. We are seeing the worst...
This is interesting, but it's hard to say where recruiting culpability ends and where coaching culpability begins.
Some on both. This does not speak well for the end of Carr's tenure or the start of RR's.
But carrs recruiting was terrible his last few years. As other coaches were negatively recruiting us and saying that his health was failing i think that the recruiting classes show that this indeed was the case and that he just didn't have the desire to do it anymore.
Couple this with the country club atmosphere and it was a recipe for disaster no matter who stepped in to coach here.
Did i miss Tate Forcier in this discussion? I'm confused as to why he's not mentioned... at all.
Forcier was part of the 2009 recruiting class (RR's second, he is a possible reference as part of the nuclear strikes at QB)
He's in the 2009 class and outside the scope of Brian's post.
Ahh, jumping the gun. I've mixed 08 and 09 as one REALLY bad year.
I do that all the time. The only events I intend to remember from 08 are The Brown Jug and Wisconsin comeback. 09: ND-Forcierfest, Denard's first snap, and Baby Seal Clubbing. We can forget about everything else.
There. I thought I'd save them (Carr-Miles-Harbaugh adherents) the effort, though I will not spit out coffee on my monitor in disgust for them.
Still, a lot of pieces missing in my view for a 2011 conference title run, which a lot of my fellow Michigan fans won't stop yammering about. I see the Michigan offense napalming people, but on defense what's gonna happen? Michigan would have to lasso a herd of 4 to 5 star LBs, CBs and safeties. This bucket of bolts will never get us through that blockade!
You are right. Look at it from a different angle maybe: Relative to the experience level of quality returners of our competitors, we look like a good bet to improve on the likely 3-5 league wins for this year.
Nebraska adds a new wrinkle to the thing. But we can flip the last two losses to wins even though they will be road games instead of home. We'll have older more experienced good players on offense pretty much across the board.
I am biting my keyboard on making any predictions about the defense.
We're a contender for whatever they call the new division if we believe that 6 league wins out of 8 puts us in contention.
Wouldn't Threet technically be considered in the 2007 recruiting class?