"Northwestern fans can be both heartened and disheartened by the loss to Minnesota just like how nineteenth-century resurrectionists were heartened when they pried a heart from a freshly-buried corpse and then disheartened it when they sold it to a disreputable anatomist."
Where Will Michigan's Class Rank?
I've had a lot of questions about where Michigan's 2012 recruiting class will be ranked come February. This is almost impossible to predict since there are no constants in the recruiting world. Since that won't satisfy anyone though I figured I would give you a projection based off of past years, and what Michigan's class could potentially look like around signing day.
This is all conjecture based off the assumption that nothing will change with Michigan's current commitments. It's more or less for fun. Don't take it too seriously.
Michigan currently has 19 commitments not counting greyshirt Jeremy Clark. There are 10 four star prospects committed and 9 three stars. We'll also assume that Michigan is going to take 25-26 prospects, just for argument sake meaning there are 6-7 spots left. In order to project where the class will be ranked let's first look at how the class could close out [For simplicity all star rankings are per Rivals].
|Jordan Diamond||Illinois||6'6", 289 lbs.||4|
|Josh Garnett||Washington||6'5", 275 lbs||4|
|Adam Bisnowaty||Pennsylvania||6'6", 275 lbs||4|
|Zach Banner||Washington||6'9", 310 lbs||4|
Michigan is only taking one more prospect from this group. I kept these names on because these are the most likely prospects to choose Michigan. We'll project Michigan will land one more 4 star prospect for the class from the offensive line.
|Aziz Shittu||California||6'3", 275 lbs||5|
|Ondre Pipkins||Missouri||6'3", 325 lbs||4|
|Danny O'Brien||Michigan||6'2", 293 lbs||
The coaches have told some of these prospects that they will only be taking one more interior lineman, but I still think there's a good chance they take two. We'll just assume for this exercise that they'll take two. The most likely from that group are Pipkins and O'Brien, so let's add two 4 star prospects to the list from the defensive tackle group.
|Adolphus Washington||Ohio||6'4", 230 lbs.||4|
|Chris Wormley||Ohio||6'4", 255 lbs.||3|
You're probably only looking at one prospect from this group if you want two defensive tackles. Until Adolphus Washington actually visits I'm not sure where he actually has Michigan ranked. We'll go with Wormley and say that Michigan adds one 3 star prospect to the commit list. [ed: It's worth noting that 247 and Scout both have Wormley in their top 100s.]
|Aaron Burbridge||Michigan||6'1", 175 lbs.||4|
|Dwayne Stanford||Ohio||6'5", 185 lbs.||4|
|Jordan Payton||California||6'2", 199 lbs.||4|
|Amara Darboh||Iowa||6'2", 190 lbs.||4|
|Jehu Chesson||Missouri||6'3", 182 lbs.||3|
There's likely three spots left in our scenario, so let's say the coaches will take two receivers from this group. There's a possibility that we could see other receivers earn offers if Michigan doesn't land anyone from this list. This group is a little tougher because Burbridge has grade issues. For our purposes though let's include Aaron Burbridge/ unnamed four star, and one other prospect.
Jehu Chesson, Jordan Payton, and Dwayne Stanford have shown the most interest from the rest of the group. I'll go on the conservative side here though and say Michigan lands a 3 star receiver. So we have one 4 star and one 3 star. It's too early to tell if that's likely, but like I said it's on the conservative side. The scenarios within this group are tough to predict.
|Bri'onte Dunn||Ohio||6'2", 215 lbs.||4|
|EJ Fatu||Texas||5'10", 235 lbs.||3|
|Juwan Lewis||Michigan||5'11", 208 lbs.||3|
|Sione Houma||Utah||6'0", 211 lbs.||2|
Given that we took two wide receivers we only have room for one from the running back position group. That was partially why I added a 4 star and a 3 star to the receivers, because the 3 star receiver could potentially be interchangeable with a fullback.
This is also a hard group to predict because of the uncertainty with Bri'onte Dunn. As I reported earlier in the week I don't think Dunn's recruitment is over. With Michigan landing Kyle Kalis that helps their chances. However, I'm going to go conservative again, and this time just take the average stars rating of 3. There's too many factors that could play into this and it's too hard to predict. I left Greg Garmon off this list because he still doesn't have Michigan as his leader even after a visit to Ann Arbor. He did tell me that he loves Michigan, but at this point I left him off. So Michigan adds a 3 star from this group.
The projected class above leaves Michigan with a total of 26 prospects. The new prospects that we've added to the list here are as follows:
- One 4 Star Offensive Lineman
- Two 4 Star Defensive Tackles
- One 3 Star Defensive End
- One 4 Star and One 3 Star Wide Receiver
- One 3 Star Running Back/Fullback
If you add these numbers to the current class, it looks something like this:
Just to reiterate, these projections are assuming there is no change in the current state of the recruiting world, there are no re-ranks, players don't move up or down, etc. We know that's not the case, so there is certainly a chance that a few Michigan commits could move up or down. Both Kyle Kalis and Erik Magnuson for example have been mentioned as potentially moving up to 5 stars. That would change things, but I can't predict if that happens.
In order to project a final ranking we'll have to look back at where previous teams were ranked after signing day that have similar classes to Michigan. For a somewhat realistic comparison I'll give a little leeway in the stars. I'll include classes that finished with one or two 5 stars and similar 4 stars, just to show a broad spectrum.
Here's what other teams have finished with star wise and where they ranked out according to Rivals:
|Year||Team||Total Commits||5 Stars||4 Stars||3 Stars||Rank|
It's important to note that these rankings aren't just factored in by star rankings. Rivals uses a number of different factors that includes class size and their individual scores as well. Again for simplicity will just compare classes off of somewhat similar size to Michigan's 2012 class and their star rankings.
As you can see from the chart the highest ranked classes that Michigan could potentially compare to are the 2011 Texas and 2009 Ohio state classes that were both ranked third. Texas had one 5 star and Ohio State had two, so in order for Michigan to get up to that type of ranking they would most likely need to either add a five star or have a few of their prospects reranked into that status. [Ed: if Kalis remains 18th he he will almost certainly grab a fifth star. Rivals averages around 35 per year and have only handed out half of those so far. Magnuson will also be on the cusp if he maintains his current status.] Another good comparison would be Tennessee's 2010 class which ranked number 9 overall. They have a similar number of total committed prospects and somewhat comparable number of stars.
Tennessee had an outstanding class in 2011 as well, ranked 13th overall. If nothing were to change then that's a pretty good comparison for the range that Michigan could be in. Since the Vols had around the same number of prospects committed with around the same number of 3 and 4 stars I'd be comfortable putting Michigan in that range. Since Michigan has two more 4 star prospects committed [in our hypothetical scenario] I would also feel safe moving them up to around the 10-11 range. That's based off of the assumption that Michigan does not add any five stars.
As of right now I would say that the class could finish out in the 7-13 range. If they get a little lucky with Dunn and some guys moving up when the class re-ranks (Ondre Pipkins seems due for a major surge) they'll crack the top five.