I took some time recently to take a look back at the 2007 recruiting class, particularly the running backs Michigan pursued. If you don't remember, that's the class where Michigan got a not-so-stellar combination of Avery Horn and Vince Helmuth. I always find it interesting to think about what could have been and see how other recruits' careers panned out.
Review of 2007 Recruiting: Running Backs
Thanks! What a crappy rb class overall. Goes to show what a crapshoot recruiting is. I'm sure the rivals and scout evaluations of these guys were glowing!
Definitely don't remember these UM commits but it's always interesting to look back. Thanks for this!
Avery Queen and Phil Helmuth matched the running back production of those guys.
upvoted way more
I remember the Vince Helmuth recruitment. [Side note: That might be the most pathetic thing I've ever written.] At the time, he seemed like a bit of a reach in terms of talent and position, but apparently he was a great kid with crazy leadership potential. I think I remember Helmuth talking - in high school - about how he and the Michigan coaches were going to try to get him on a path to college coaching. I hope everything is working out well for the guy.
Thanks for posting this Magnus. Hey - on the back of my 1997 Wolverine magazine annual preview issue they published the "Hot 100" recruits and it's absolutely amazing to me how few names actually did anything. I find these retrospective look backs inightful because they show us just how silly it is for us to get into panic mode bacause a certain player decides to play elsewhere.
Or to come in as freshmen and immediately be an impact player at their position.
It is interesting. I'm kind of curious to see whether recruiting analysis gets better as the years go on. I mean, obviously coaches have been prioritizing certain kids over others for decades. But as there becomes more video, more camps, etc., I wonder if the accuracy of sites like Rivals, Scout, etc. will improve.
I always like Vince because he went to my high school and we rarely had any talented players let alone Michigan talent.
I tried to steal his halloween candy when I was in high school and he was in 6th grade. I failed. I wasn't a very big freshman high schooler.
Years later I ran into him in West Quad and we had a nice chat about how spring football was going...
As I recall, Vince Helmuth was a Hornet. I am as well actually.
Actually, I had first heard of him when he was still at Saline because he came from that long tradition of talented track and field teams that Saline has put out there through the years. I believe Helmuth was a state champion shot put and discus thrower as well.
It was an interesting look back, Magnus. Best in a Michigan uniform would have been very cool, I agree.
Thanks. I'm glad you appreciated it.
I remember Vince Helmuth was one hell of a high school discus thrower. 180+ ft.
That's roughly the distance I can hit a golf ball.
In the time when you live, I don't think they have graphite shafts and titanium faces, so that's probably true.
I wasn't into recruiting at this time and honestly don't know who either of these guys were. Which is similar to how football was for many fans back in the old days before the current public knowledge of recruiting we know today. The only recruit I ever remember hearing about was Baraka, due to the extreme hype, and I had absolutely no knowledge of the recruiting class until the first game of the fall came out and the game program had a full roster. Now we know what these kids had for dinner in 8th grade.
I think it was better that way.
RB recruiting at Michigan. That's probably putting it nicely too. Helmuth was a very good athlete in H.S. I thought he would be a good FB for us. But things didn't work out. I think the switch to DL was probably a mistake for him.
The classes that followed didn't really distinguish themselves either:
2008: Sam McGuffie, Michael Cox, Michael Shaw. SM was very good, but playing on that team and his family issues cut short a promising career.
2009: Vincent Smith, Fitzgerald Toussaint (these guys definitely had an impact)
2010: Stephen Hopkins, Austin White
2011: Justice Hayes, Thomas Rawls
If you ever have time or have the records (I know you do for the 2010-2014 classes) it would be nice down the road to show how kids we were in the running for also turned out - like guys we were in top 3 and do a comparison. Would be fascinating too.
This type of stuff is exactly why, while I follow recruiting, and cheer when we get a kid, I am not all gung ho at projecting 3 years down the road when we have "4 stars at every position and will dominate" etc. Until you see these kids making impacts on Saturday it's just nice conversation pieces and something for us to obsess over.
I try to let their college careers play out before doing an "analysis," so I typically have to wait for five years after they finish high school to do one of these posts. I could feasibly get through the 2009 class at this point.
EDIT: It takes a fair amount of time to track down information on all these guys, so posts like this are pretty time-consuming. I'm glad people appreciate them, though. That makes it worth it.
Yep I know what you mean. I did one just for our 2012 class in diaries and just putting that together took me quite a few hours so I understand its pain staking work to do!
The 2007 running backs are as far as I've gone so far, but I have posted others in the past:
I think a little bit of that is nostalgia. You probably also enjoy the first time you see a Jabrill Peppers or Sam McGuffie highlight, and you probably also enjoy when you see a "Hello" post on the front page. Many years down the road, after Brian Cook dies from an aneurysm while watching Al Borges, Jr. call the offense and MGoBlog dies with him, you'll miss the ol' MGoBlog days, too.
I guess it's in my DNA (and a lot of people's) to want to know about the next big thing. It happens in basketball and baseball for me, too. I have always loved watching those 19- and 20-year-old baseball prospects enter the major leagues, seeing which high school studs can translate to the majors, etc. There are busts in every sport. For me, I just enjoy watching football...so if a Sam McGuffie can make other kids look silly, I can appreciate it for what it is, even if he can't replicate that at the college level. Because if he doesn't take the job, there's usually someone like Brandon Minor who can be as fun to watch.
Thanks for posting this. Fun read. I've always thought it would be interesting if somebody were to go back over all of the old "Hello" posts, and compare the "Prediction based on flimsy evidence" to how the athlete's career actually played out. Maybe some sort of brief career retrospective / "send off" post at the end of each player's time at Michigan, posted by the MgoStaff (or whomever). Embed some highlight clips, put the posts in an easy to use archive, and people would have a cool way to teach their kids about some of their favorite players from the MgoBlog era. Wish I had the time or know-how.