8-4 this Fall. It would turn some heads and maybe land us (possibly) 1 or 2 guys in a position of need.
Where It's At: Defensive Recruiting
The week-to-week minutiae of recruiting can sometimes obscure the larger picture.From time to time this here blog likes to provide a 1,000 foot view so people can have context going forward. Details below are designed to be sparse. The offense was treated to a similar overview a couple weeks ago.
Also sorry it's late but I think you'll see why. The recruiting board, as always, lives here.
They remain the same: Michigan has 20 scholarships to give out next year under these assumptions:
- No attrition
- Cone and Wright aren't extended fifth years
- Kelvin Grady, George Morales, and Nick Sheridan aren't on scholarship next year
2 is a solid assumption; 1 is probably goofy, and 3 is solid on Sheridan and unknown on Grady and Morales.
Needs: Well… dude, I just don't know yet. Michigan's move to the 4-3 under (mostly) leaves everyone's positions a mess. There are approximately three different sorts of things you can do on the defensive line:
- Be the nose tackle. Play shaded over the center, take on a lot of double teams with an idea towards splitting them, and disrupt the strongside A gap like whoah. Sophomore Mike Martin is your starter backed up by Renaldo Sagesse and Will Campbell. Martin and Campbell are both underclassmen so they'd like to get some numbers here but they only need one as they have no seniors.
- Be the deathbacker. Be a hybrid DE/OLB that can be considerably lighter than a conventional defensive end. You sit outside the weakside tackle and threaten to death him to death (ie: murder the quarterback). Michigan's current options here are not great: converted TE Steve Watson plus converted. LBs Brandon Herron and Marrell Evans, plus probably freshmen Craig Roh and Anthony Lalota.
- Be the strongside defensive end or three-technique DT. These are the guys who flank the nose tackle and their duties appear pretty similar; multiple recruits have mentioned that playing SDE and DT in this defense is pretty much the same, and you can see that in the projected starting lineups: Brandon Graham's backup, Ryan Van Bergen, is now the starting three-tech DT. The DE has to be more of a pass-rush threat, I guess, but these guys are going to be big guys ranging from 260 to 290. Graham, Van Bergen, Patterson, and Banks are your two-deep here: all guys who will be gone in two years except for Van Bergen.
This has turned into a dissertation on defensive line responsibilities in the new defense. Anyway: Michigan wants one nose and probably at least two SDE/DT prospects, and already has two deathbackers.
Commitments: Michigan has deathbacker commits from PA DE Jordan Paskorz (right) and PA DE Ken Wilkins. Both are three-star sorts with okay-not-great offers that Michigan hopes are reflective of their tweener status. That's an issue defenses that require different things from their defensive ends, but under Greg Robinson it's all good as long as you're an athlete like whoah.
One thing on Wilkins: despite that combine that claimed him at 225, many, many sources since then have him at 6'4", 240; other reports also question his agility. 240 + 6'4" + lack of agility + two years with Barwis + "good frame" == 270-280 == SDE. "But if Michigan saw him as an SDE wouldn't they have taken Holmes Onwukaife?" you ask, and I reply "don't be a pest."
Realistic Future Options: This is where it gets dodgy. Michigan's apparently taken a pass on MI DT Jonathan Hankins, at least for now, leaving very few NT candidates on the board. There's Sharrif Floyd, who everyone wants and Michigan should get a visit from, Samoan Mormon Ricky Heimuli, and OH DT Terry Talbott. The vibe I get on Floyd is that Michigan isn't in great spot; M is just a letter to Heimuli; and Talbott is just a name right now, and one of those meh three-stars at that.
At SDE/DT, the only green on the board belongs to Marcus Rush, who continues to maintain that Michigan leads but also seems locked into deathbacking and might not have a committable offer in the wake of Paskorz and Wilkins, and Derrick Bryant, who said Michigan led a long time ago and then hasn't been heard from since except when a rumor mentions there's been some parting of the ways.
Past that there are a lot of southern guys who have expressed little interest in their Michigan offers, instate DE CJ Olaniyan, and NY DE Dominique Easley. FL DE Corey Lemonier and GA DE Henry Anderson have (erratically) expressed desires to visit too, but of the people on the board right now I think you'll see one guy actually commit and then you're looking at Defensive End Taylor Lewan, hopefully.
Level of PANIC: 4/5. Michigan really should fill three more spots on the defensive line in this class but it's hard to see where they come from. This only compounds the hole left by the signing-day defections of Pearlie Graves and Dequinta Jones. It looks like more of the same the rest of the way out.
Needs: The only senior is WLB Stevie Brown. Mike Jones, Isaiah Bell, and Brandin Hawthorne all come in as safety-sized outside linebackers, so Michigan needs one guy in the middle and maybe a one or two on the outside.
Commitments: Youngstown Liberty offered up its third player in two years when Antonio Kinard committed at junior day. At the time I thought Kinard was likely headed for deathbacker, too, but now it seems he'll come in as a middle linebacker.
And then there's Marvin Robinson, who may or may not be a safety. Recruiting analysts say he's a weakside linebacker; Robinson, and apparently the Michigan coaches, have him a strong safety. He's addressed in the secondary for now; be advised that if Michigan pulls in like three corners and two non-Robinson safeties I'm moving him to linebacker whether he wants to go there or not.
Realistic Future Options: Uh. MD LB Josh Furman has some ridiculous combine numbers, offers from Oklahoma and others, and plans a visit in the near future. He also looks indie like Dhani Jones, which can't hurt.
MD LB Troy Gloster has Michigan in his top five of strong academic schools. TX LB Corey Nelson is the teammate of RB/slot commit Tony Drake; Michigan is outside his top five but should, apparently, get a visit. For now. There's also Onwukaife if he decides he does want to play linebacker.
Only Nelson is a blue-chip there, though Furman certainly has promise. Michigan missed out on a couple of in-state guys (Daniel Easterly and Austin Gray) by not offering; if they get involved with either they may get a look.
Level of PANIC: 3/5. There's not a huge need at this spot but you'd like to see two guys, and here we're again banking on the Michigan coaching staff having information no one else does about low-rated, unoffered Kinard.
Needs: No one graduates, but the two-deep had a walk-on on it this spring and only two guys come in to reinforce. Also, Donovan Warren might be an early-entry candidate if he suddenly lives up to his recruiting hype. I consistently overestimate the corner need, but now it's tradition: I'd like to see them take three.
Commitments: OH CB Courtney Avery flipped his commitment from Stanford to Michigan after picking up an M offer at summer camp. Avery's not highly rated but Michigan got an extended look and decided to shoot him an offer; in that situation you can reasonably assume the coaching staff does have information no one else does.
Realistic Future Options: Here, at least, it appears Michigan has enough candidates who list Michigan strongly to pick up a strong class. PA CB Cullen Christian is Scout's #3 corner and should be due for a major move up on Rivals when they rerank; he has all but said he will commit to Michigan at some point in the future whenever anyone has asked him for months.
So that's in all probability two. Would they take a third? I would; these days your nickel corner is probably more important than whichever linebacker comes off the field in a passing situation. They have options: Cass Tech mighty dwarf Dior Mathis and Rashad Knight have publicly proclaimed Michigan leads, and supposed Miami lock Tony Grimes came back from his Michigan visit saying things along the lines of—but not quite—"Michigan leads." FL CB Travis Williams, who tried to commit on a visit of his own but was put off, may also be an option.
Level of PANIC: 0/5. Michigan will probably pull in three good corners.
Needs: No one graduates here, so that's good. Not so good: only having four scholarship bodies covering two starting spots. Michigan should be looking to take at least two.
Commitments: FL S Marvin Robinson made what everyone had been expecting forever official by committing a few months ago. Six-pack coming at you, ladies:
Though Robinson didn't turn out to be the five-star lock everyone said he was a couple years back, he's a highly-rated four-star just outside of the Rivals 100.
Realistic Future Options: The big name is Glenville S Latwan Anderson, who was the best uncommitted player at Michigan's camp. He has Michigan second on an ordered list of five schools; supposedly M and WVU—the #1—are distant from the chasing pack of three southern schools. I still get the vibe that Anderson is headed elsewhere, as MGoBlog Recruiting Heuristic #4 is "if a player leaves a visit to your school saying someone else leads, you are in trouble." But maybe he's waiting around to confirm the competency, or lack thereof, of Bill Stewart before committing to a program that no longer has the primary reason anyone outside of West Virginia would be a fan of the program.
Two other players have Michigan in a small leading group: OH S Kurtis Drummond says Michigan and State lead, and SC S Detrick Bonner was the subject of an odd article recently in which he claimed a Michigan offer and said Michigan was his favorite despite no one ever hearing of him. There are a number of other guys from Maryland, the West Coast, and Ohio who Michigan would go for.
Level of PANIC: 1/5. Robinson's an excellent start; Anderson would be a great finish. That's slightly unlikely, though, but they've got enough guys on the board to pick up a solid second option.
Needs: They need one with the departure of Zoltan.
Realistic Future Options: It will probably be one of three players Michigan has identified already. WI P Will Hagerup already has an offer and appears to be the #1 choice. He's got offers from Ohio State, Alabama, Wisconsin, and many others—he's probably the best punter in the country this year.
If it's not Hagerup, it will probably be FL P Brandon Tarpley or MI P Mike Sadler.
Level of PANIC: 0/5. It really sounds like Sadler's just waiting for an offer to drop, so Michigan will pick up either the top punter or third-best (-ish) in the country. He won't be Zoltan but he should be decent.
Let me first state something for the record before offering up an e-pinion here. Yes, seven years of program building at West Virginia and yet more elsewhere far outweigh the opinions of recruiting gurus. I don't want to get into one of those dumb arguments where someone says something mildly critical, someone else replies with something defensive that slightly escalates the stakes, and twenty post later it's turned into a catfight with both sides annihilating strawmen like "recruiting rankings are 100% infallible" and "this recruiting class dooms Rich Rodriguez." Recruiting is one important aspect of a program; it's far from the only one.
You've probably figured out where this is going during the disclaimer, but here goes anyway: I'm not thrilled over here. It looks like the secondary recruiting will be about on par with a typical Michigan class, with two high profile stars, a couple middling four-stars behind them, and then a couple three-star-sorts with promise on the back end. Linebacker and defensive line are another matter, with three eh (Paskorz, Kinard) to eh-plus (Wilkins) recruits in the bag and what looks like zero four-stars Michigan has a strong shot except maybe Sharrif Floyd, and that's tentative. (I am excluding Corey Nelson and Corey Lemonier here.)
There is a lot of time left and all that, but the this gaussian distribution is centered on Moderately Disappointing. Thrilling is three standard deviations away.
I've said this before and here I go again: none of this is surprising after a 3-9 season; teams have been turning in disappointing recruiting years the year after they crater for a while now and that effect gets even more pronounced as recruiting continues to slide forward in the calendar year; it's good that Michigan has hold of a coach who has turned classes far more star-bereft than this one projects to be into national title contenders; I still think this is going to be a drag on Michigan's ability to be a national contender, albeit a small one.
You fail to mention Black as a option on the defensive line. Any reason for us to doubt he's considering Michigan?
If I were offered I would commit! Or is that be committed? My philosophy is to start slow then fade.....
I still think the scholarship situation is sketchy; I don't want an Alabama situation where we have to unjustly make room for the incoming recruiting class. I really can't figure out a scenario in which we'll have a full class (24-25 commits) unless we have alot of transfers after this season is over.
If we sign more LOIs than have scholarships open on Signing Day I'll be irritated. Other than that no point in getting upset yet.
can't see all these slot/WRs sticking around more than a redshirt +1 year if they're not in the mix. You can't get drafted from a slot role unless your a freak (P Harvin), and you can't be a freak if your butt's on the bench.
Okay, so Brandom Graham is the weak-side DE. Mike Martin is the nose tackle. Van Bergen is the strong-side DT? Also, Obi Ezeh is the MLB, Mouton is the strong-side LB, and Brown is weak-side LB (but also something of a safety). Who is this year's "death backer"?
Anyone who can explain what U of M's front seven will look like will be greatly appreciated...I thought U of M was switched to a 4-3 under, which meant that there would be four D-lineman: two ends, a NT, and a DT. I guess I don't understand where the death backer fits in, nor where Brown's hybrid LB/S role fits (unless he just switches positions on different downs).
Brandon Herron is your man, a 3 star LB from Texas ranked 25th at his postion out of high school. There isn't really any star potential on board for this position, but maybe that's because it's tailored to "tweener" recruits.
We need quality bodies in recruiting also at Van Bergen's position and MLB.
Jordan Paskorz is "Meat" from Porky's.
And I agree with it--adding that it is OK to question what's going on and to be concerned about the class at this point. And the point is--what happens in 2010, when no matter how you slice it, Rodriguez probably needs to do something Big, especially if 2009 brings a sub-500 record.
I also want to believe that Rodriguez has a golden eye for talent--but until it is shown at UM, it doesn't mean much.
As detestable I find most of what you say, it's impossible to deny that this class won't be up to the standards of the past.
Where I think you go off the deep-end is that you seem to think that this is an impending death-knell of the Rodriguez regime. The man can clearly recruit - last year's class, and the 1/2 class he pulled in the prior year show that. What this shows is that recruiting off of 3-9 is harder than recruiting off of 9-4. As a result, I don't think they're "doing anything wrong" - they're suffering the impact of having a shitty year.
"As detestable I find most of what you say, it's impossible to deny that this class won't be up to the standards of the past."
I'll do it. It's June (July almost). If you say that standards are a top 12 class, I'm willing to take that bet.
All I'm saying is this:
Last years class averaged 3.59 stars per recruit on Rivals. Right now, with fifteen, we're at 3.07, and that's giving our 3 unranked people 2 stars (generally, that's what "2 stars" means). We have, what - 8 more spots left? That means that, in order to rival last year's results, we need an even mix of 4 and five stars to have as good a class (we need about 4.5 stars per recruit). In order to equal our poorest showing since Rivals started ranking classes, we need all 8 of our recruits to be 4 stars from here on out. That doesn't strike me as likely.
Now, I know: "recruiting rankings", "Mike Hart", "decommits", etc. All I'm saying is that we'd need to pull crazy-good commits OR suffer attrition from our less-illustrious commits (and replace them w/ 4 stars) in order to finish at par.
Hope some of our existing guys get a bump in the ratings, meaningless as that is in the scheme of things.
The last two classes were rated higher than Lloyd's previous two anyways. Our track record before RR wasn't top 10, it was top 15 - both in recruiting and in team performance. This isn't even with taking all the 4 and 5 star defections into account. Rosey glasses, baby.
I think RR is a good recruiter. You can't look at his 1.5 classes and conclude otherwise. But, this class isn't up to par right now. I don't think that's his fault, per se - I think it's 3-9.
mildly concerned, of course turns into seriously concerned if this becomes a pattern 3-4 years down the road. grabbing 2-4 less 4 stars on defense than we normally would in one recruiting class is not going to sink the ship.
those positions seem pretty thin this year in general. I have no problem with picking up some depth with good character/upside guys. Two years in a row of meh front seven recruiting would be much more troubling.
I think secondary recruiting going well is the biggest relief, although would like to see some more MIKE candidates. Caleb Lavey going to Okie State was a disappointment, but other than that, there just did not seem to be many realisitic MLB prospects this year. Same with DL, making Hankins lack of performance even that more diappointing.
Overall, with Gardner and the secondary commits/expected commits, I think this is a fine class, and it could certainly get much better as signing day comes. If 3/4 of the four stars pan out and a couple of the three stars pan out, this should still be a pretty productive class compared to some of Lloyd's highly rated- yet ill-fated classes.
One year of meh recruiting on the front seven isn't going to kill you, but if the '10 class remains meh on the front seven on signing day, it makes that a huge priority for '11.
A good solid offense will win you a good amount of games, but it still takes a really solid defense to help you win national championships.
Looking back, I remember players in the secondary being our downfall at key moments. The less talented Curry brother back in the day, Morgan Trent and Sears or whoever else vs. OSU in "the game" and our safeties last year. Do you think that front seven players on defense have a similar ability to drastically alter outcomes? This is obviously a somewhat rhetorical question but a lack of pressure on the quarterback at moments can be made up for by other things on defense.
that many of the recruits are waiting to see how the Wolverines do this season before they commit. They do have plenty of time until Feb. I am still predicting a 4-0 start this year, and if that happens - we will go bowling for sure. The first game might be a bit of a shootout, but I'm thinking home field advantange and a WMU defense that only returns 2 guys from a horrible defense last year will help us out. Notre Shame will fail to run the ball, and Clausen will throw into double coverage like he does almost every game I've ever seen him play. The next two are EMU (Ron English reminds us of his inability to stop the spread) & IU - 'nuff said. Even if the domers pull one of in AA, we will be sitting at 3-1. Anything over .500 is a vast improvement from the debacle that was last year, and the confidence starts to swing the other way with these kids. Winning will attract more recruits, and I think some RB's might look at Minor, Grady, & Brown graduating as an oppertunity to get some early PT. Who knows... Time will tell. I still don't think there's any reason to get our collective panties in a bunch.
I think 4-0 is about as likely as 2-2. 3-1 FTW.
Jibreel Black? Anyone?
There is a fast-dwindling optimism on landing Black, at least on one premium site.
I heard that he likes Indiana. And I feel like getting up to 20 points.
I am more concerned with how the 2009 team looks on the field. I will echo everyone's sentiments above who says we crank out an 8-win season and return to a bowl and RR will be able to close this class out strong.
Otherwise, my take on the recruiting is thus, and anyone can correct me if its otherwise.....but at this point I dont see too many other schools with a rock and roll class. I am no expert on recruiting, but it seems like in the last 3 years there have always been several schools already half way to "an OMG Uber talented" class.
I dont see anyone right now putting that together, per se. What I mean is the 2010 class for UM might not be great and not be in top 10 like we're used to. But then again, when everyone else's class is accounted for, maybe it still is.
We'll see, it's early. I'll like our future a lot more if we go 8-4 this season as opposed to another top-10 recruting class considering how young the program is already.
I think your point may be affected by an increase in the number of quality programs surrounding powerhouse schools. As I see it, the truly dominant teams the past 5 years in recruiting have been USC and Texas. USC should have to compete now with other Pac10 schools more than ever as should Texas with some rising Big 10 programs. If Notre Dame were a powerhouse program, they would pose a similar challenge to Michigan's recruiting (even more so than they do now). Obviously, Michigan State is beginning to affect us as well.
As the dude/dudette pointed out above, our 2010 team looks to be strong on talent and experience. I'm hoping we are a BCS bowl winning team in 2 years which should help with recruiting the blue chippers. Significant improvement this fall could also help on that front, especially on defense.
How did Lalota and Roh turn into "current options are not that great" after a couple of weightlifting sessions. Yeah they are skinny I get it. Give em some time. Roh seems like a great fit for the Deathbacker..quick, great motor.
Lalota is considered a bit of a "project" as a defensive player. You have to remember that other schools recruited him as an offensive lineman. Some believe that to be his best position. That was probably factored into his high star rating.
It seems like everyone we recruit is someone with a high ceiling... which suggests that our coaches have high self esteem. They're going to be developing "projects" at every position.
a lot of 16-17 year old juniors in high school are projects when recruited. I looked it up. It's truth.
OK, so I haven't seen this debated yet, and am curious what you think....
How much of our recruiting just might be due to an offensive minded system versus all those other things. I know WVU had decent numbers d-wise some years; however, watching them the past few years left me thinking they were all about outscoring the opponent. Could it be we just "don't care" as much about persuing top-notch D personnel on the D-line/l-backer? If we go in thinking we're going to blow someone's doors off, and put them into primarily "catch-up" (i.e. passing) mode, perhaps our best efforts lie only in obtaining highly regarded secondary.
I realize last year was an abomination, and I'm not suggesting that was what we were looking for. Yet how valid is the argument that if we get to the point where we're putting up 35+ a game, we don't "need" to be that good on D. (And YES, it pains me to think that way about U of M.)
The last 2 games of 07 WV played a 1970's style game against Pitt where they totally shut down Pitt and lost when their offense melted down when White got hurt. In the bowl game they punched Oklahoma in the mouth and dismantled them.
That's an interesting take on that Pitt/WVU game. I think most people who saw that game viewed it as Pitt shutting down WVU's high powered offense. Pat White's injury was certainly a factor in that. I'm not sure it would be correct to say that WVU's defense "totally shut down" Pitt. If I remember correctly, the Panthers weren't exactly an offensive juggernaut in '07.
Pretty shitty game on both sides.
Didn't say Pitt was a juggernaut on O but they did shut them down. Point taken it wasn't a huge undertaking to shut down Wannstedt
Yet Oklahoma should've been potent, and as we discovered last year, when your offense stops working (as WVU's did vs. Pitt) it makes it harder to shut down a team later in the game.
The D recruiting is not so bad again.... Barring injury you have a d in 2010 of
DE-RVB 4 star
NT-Campbell 5 star
DT-Martin 4 star
Death- Roh 4 star
LB- Mouton 4 star
LB- Ezeh 2 star(obviously outperformed that)
LB- Fitzgerald 4 star
CB-Warren 5 star
CB-Boo Boo 4 star
CB Turner 4 star
S Vlad 4 star
S Williams 4 star
For depth you B. Smith 4 star, Lolata 4 star, Jones and Hawthorne 3 star(undervalued Florida guys) Woolfolk, Sagusse Hellmuth, Floyd etc....
Enough with the D is full of 3 stars!!!!!!!!
I don't think the worry about the defense is that complete lack of highly-rated recruits, but depth. If any of those guys you have listed fails to live up to expectations/gets injured, the only thing behind them on the depth chart are guys even less likely to live up to those expectations. And, like it or not, a few of those 4/5 stars will fail to live up to expectations or get injured.
(Of course, a few of the guys behind them will play above their 3* rating, but it's still cutting it close, and if thosee 3* performers aren't at the same position as the holes that open up, it'll be trouble.)
I'm not ready to jump off a bridge yet or anything, but it sure would be nice to have more green faces next to highly-rated players on the already-thin d-line.
Wha would be nice this year is to have a defense that works so Lalota, Roh, and even Campbell (said to be in need of MAJOR fundamentals work) can redshirt. Ftizgerald is unproven, and Ezeh? He probably has outplayed 2* status--but WHOA on counting on him to be an impact player--he is lousy in coverage and isn't that fast. Warren has to rebound from a poor season.
I'm looking a UM playing a 3-4 his year and envisioning Graham being double teamed all season long. Gonna be hard for him to be dominant, which is what UM needs.
I can see the optimism for 2010, though--but again, the defense will be thin, thin, thin. And if Warren has a breakout year--does he stick around for his senior season?
And I want to see these "undervalued" Florida guys do it on the field first--and they surely would benefit from a redshirt year.
I'm baffled at how many words you managed to type considering you clearly can't read.
Brian's comments are about this recruiting class - not the current defense. He said that our current class is full of 3 stars. It largely is. You talking about this year's starting defense - which is in no way, shape, or form, relevant to this class - has no bearing, at all, on the conversation.
If he couldn't understand Brian's perfectly plain and cogent post what makes you think he'll fair any better with your wonderfully simple and intuitive explanation?
Hey Douchebag...nice comment about not being able to read and then not reading my post. Ok slowly with headers for you.
1. It is the "2010" defense not next years unless B. Graham is being benched...the purpose of this is to point out the panic level is a little overblown.
2. I never addressed Brian directly there were many comments already posted and this topic has been beat to depth and I think it is overblown.
3. I put the facts down there, potentially only Ezeh will be the only player below a 4 star starting on the defense and we will be working on a new class that can hopefully have some 4 stars for you guys to go with MRob and C. Christian.
4. Brian talks about the depth of each position as to indicate need so he's not just addressing the current class.
Boom goes the Dynamite!!!!!
Woooo! My first time directly being called a douchebag on an internet forum! I'm gonna go buy me somethin real nice!
It's not your fault. If someone questions Brian it's like dissing your girl. I can sympathize with that. Brian is approaching godlike status around here.
Don't be so down, bros! Remember, we can always drink the bad recruiting classes away! And if that doesn't work I'll just ask my dad to pay for it.
I think we're getting our dicks twisted by the defensive line "issues," amigos. I mean, if recruiting D-linemen doesn't pan out we can just get those fat chicks from ADPi to play. Am I right? Am I right? Up top!
A year like that will cause a drop off or dip in recruiting. But there is a real concern in the areas of recruiting for the d-line and LB's.