After watching our defense struggle yet again this season I couldn't help but think about a good (not great) big 10 defensive player who in high school had great grades, bloodlines and wanted to play for Michigan and yet couldn't get a scholarship offer for reasons i have never understood..
I live in Northern Ohio and in 2005 a very good friend of mine's son set an Ohio high school record scoring five touchdowns in a playoff game. He also played some cornerback when needed. As a season ticket holder who did a small amount of recruiting for Michigan in the early 90's I started bringing the boy up to games and alerted my contacts to take a look at him. In 2005 he was invited to several camps (Michigan included) and began to get scholarship offers. By 2006 he had received offers from every MAC and Big East program as well as lower tier Pac 10 and ACC schools but nothing from Michigan. After the 2006 season he was invited back to Michigan's camp when they were trying out QBs and he basically shut down every wideout they placed in front of him but still no offer. His dad, an ex-Louiseville Cardinal DB made it known that they were growing tired of the recruitment process and would commit early in 2007. Michigan was #1 on their list but they weren't going to wait his entire senior year to see if an offer would be forthcoming. I again contacted the football department and told them what I knew about the kid - good grades, good family and outstanding athlete - basically everything Michigan wanted in a player and yet nothing. No offer, no communication - nothing. So when Northwestern offered early in his senior year they accepted and shut down all recruiting. After that I called and asked why no offer - all I was told was "he's 5"10 and we want taller corners" and that was the end of it.
Today Jordan Mabin is a starting DB for Northwestern. If you remember, he was played especially well against us (motivated maybe?) and I cant help but wonder how we would look if we had bothered to offer a tremendous athlete with good grades who happened to be "only" 5'10.