Q&A at DetNews with Sam Webb and two national recruiting analyst types talking progression of Speight, chances with Adoree Jackson + JuJu Smith (to create the best set of names in a defensive backfield in history), some Drake Harris talk, and Michigan's recruiting as a whole.
Sam Webb Talks Speight, Jackson, Smith With Some National Recruiting Analysts
I was looking at the stats for both Jackson and Smith on MaxPreps for their junior seasons a few minutes ago, so I will share these:
As a corner, Jackson had 56 tackles (32 of them are solo), 5 INTs for 175 yards and 2 caused fumbles. His stats on offense are pretty good for someone who is being used as a two-way player - 5 rushing TDs (175 rushing yards) and 5 receiving TDs (546 receiving yards, 16.6 yards per reception). According to his listing, however, they also use him to return punts, which I didn't realize - 12 returned for 453 yards total. It would be pretty nice to have several infinitely useful players really.
Juju Smith's listing is less complete, but it does list his 47 catches for 689 yards as well as 9 kickoff returns for 131 yards and 12 punt returns for 190 yards. As a defensive back, he had 31 tackles (21 were solo).
Interesting back-and-forth with Webb and Greg Biggins - thanks for sharing it.
So Jackson is averaging over 37 yards per punt return? That's incredible.
I don't know how true it is, but the view in this story was that the top notch kids nowadays are placing "winning" ahead of "playing time" - that would be news to me and a sea change if accurate. Obviously the perfect world is to go to a program where you get immediate or close to immediate playing time (outside of say the OL where even the best kids are seasoned a year or two) and the program is still winning big. But those situations are far and few in between. So not sure if he is indicating this is what the top few elite kids want or something he is seeing more broadly.
The kind of scenario that would be best case for us is a mirror of USC circa early 2000s. A top notch traditional program that usually would be a 1 to 3 loss type program (USC in 70s, 80s, to mid 90s) that fell on hard times for a short period (USC late 90s, first years of 00s), brought in the right coach for the program and took off vertical for a 8-9 years.
(Obviously absent the shenanighans Pete C brought the program)
Looks like the talent pipeline is filling to do this - I think the two key areas go foreward are going to be QBs (which is the most important position in sports), and DLs. Lost in the Woodson gloss of 97 was a heck of a defensive line with eventual first team all american Rob Renes, a true impactful DE in Glen Steele, and James Hall (who was more of a rush LB). Josh Williams (DT) also played 6 years in the NFL off that line. We've had one player here or there like that (i.e. Graham) in the past 6-7 years but putting together 3-4 is a potential game changer and a must to become nationally elite. Hence this year's potential class with McDowell, Hand, Mone, Marshall, etc combined with the young bucks from last year - could be setting the stage for that type of stud DL in the coming years.
Personally I think emphasis on winning might be poorly worded. I think it tends to break down into players who want the rockstar treatment in college (hostesses, instant starter, center of attention on campus, etc) and those who focus on the kind of achievements that get you a solid NFL gig.
One of my high school teammates actually had a bit of a NFL career (journeyman style thing) and now works as a recruiting adviser, one of the interesting things he said was the rookie salary cap has changed recruiting. Before the cap a top player could ride a wave of hype into a 60 million dollar contract (2/3s of it guaranteed money, etc) so the team really wanted to get a return on their investment, now the NFL franchise has at most a few million tied up in you and if you are a problem, they can always just cut you and go sign a replacement FA.
According to him it is more important than ever to be able to sit down with a NFL scout or coach and pull out a highlight reel that shows you progressing and gaining skills in a pro style system, which shows the team they want to take you and invest in your continued development. Basically now with the team less invested in you capwise you need to do more to sell them on your ceiling. He figures that this is going to result in players clustering around certain college teams whose staff have a proven track record not just of getting you drafted but also making you a player the NFL Team will want to continue to develop.
^^^ This ^^^
"... putting together 3-4 is a potential game changer ..."
I'd like to see that, too. For most of the past several years there have been a handful of great players and a bunch of placeholders in that area.
Considering he basically created gobluewolverine at fox sports scout, and makes a nice living off of writing for them, detnews and morning show on wtka.
Mgoblog is the last place in the world he would ever want to be. This was a less than intelligent thought.
I think so much of Adoree’s recruitment is going to be determined by how they do on the field.
Also seems like the national guy really didn't think too much of Speight last year. Curious if the Michigan offer and being the QB in this class has given him that swagger. That would be quite a statement if true.
I'm impressed with what Butch Jones seems to be doing so far at Tennessee - I've seen them on the list of top guys much more often than in past years.
Tennesse can offer a lot of things that UM can (a drop off in education but equivalent in a lot of other ways... stadium, atmosphere, history, facilities) - in many ways Tennessee now is where Michigan was 3 years ago. Plus they play in the SEC which will be a draw for many kids. If I was an up and coming coach it would be a very attractive place to go and restore,
but the "drop off in education" is more then you make it out to be. Sure, it doesn't need to be explained that UM is superior academically, but the fact that many top recruits UM has been getting emphasize education seems to draw a little more attention to the academic side of things. An example would be Peppers who had Stanford neck and neck with UM for awhile. Great place to coach and rebuild for sure, but academic drop-off could be a factor
Get off your high horse a bit. I don't think the purported "academic superiority" actually makes that much of a difference in the end, especially as most kids -- even at U-M -- major in the sports disciplines.
Hmmm. I think Jabrill Peppers might like a word with you...
So Sam says we have a legitimate shot with Jackson, and Juju Smith loves us and likes a few other schools ok. *does happy dance*
Hand, McDowell,Pipkins on line, and some current guys
JMFR, James "Eventual heir to 'MF' entitilement" Ross, Morgan linebacking
Peppers and Jackson and/or Smith holding down the defensive backfield with Dymonte and a few others
I think you are on to something. Since Ryan already has a legacy number, we should hand down the MF to the most badass defensive playmaker. Never noticed that Ryan and Ross have the same initials, so James MF Ross is the clear heir apparent.
Would all those future All-Pro NFL players have gone to Miami of Florida if that program had been bumbling along with mediocre coaches? Would Charles Woodson have come to Michigan if the program had been posting 4-7 seasons when he was considering which schools to commit to?
It's important for any program, except maybe ND to have successful seasons. Winning is an important part of recruiting.
I love the fact that the message is the same to each and every recruit. You must earn your playing time in practice. We are on our way to competition across the board where we start seeing quite a few 1A &1B's on the depth chart. Can't Wait! (Bart Scott voice)
there are about 6 five stars left on the board with us as a possibility (McDowell, Brown (maybe), Hand, Jackson, Smith, Fournette as a long-shot). If we get lucky and land half of those, this would be a ridiculous class. That's not even mentioning the super high four stars such as Scott, Westphal, Jones, etc. that we are in on. If we filled out a class like that, that's Alabama-level talent.