This Week’s Obsession: The 2017 Redshirt Roundtable

This Week’s Obsession: The 2017 Redshirt Roundtable Comment Count

Seth June 14th, 2017 at 4:04 PM


[Bryan Fuller]

The Question:

Who’s gonna redshirt?

The Responses:

Brian: We should get the obvious redshirts out of the way: McCaffrey, Taylor, Paea, Honigford, Hall, Paye, Hawkins, and probably St-Juste, I think?

Seth: I figured we'd go down the positions. QB is obvious. Running backs?

Brian: We should just set aside the obvious play and obvious sits and talk about the rest. Obvious plays are Black, DPJ, Solomon, Hudson, Woods, JKP.

Ace: Vilain.

Seth: Ambry?

Ace: Not so sure on Ambry. He’s a twig.

Seth: So is JKP but I'm looking at a depth chart.

Brian: Watson and Washington exist.

Adam: JKP is not a twig in the same way as Ambry. I think Ambry sees the field in a "break glass in case of emergency" scenario.

Brian: We're doing the post before the post.

Ace: I think this is the post.

Brian: Oh.

Seth: We're in the post...right now.


This is now, now.

Ace: Was there anyone worth debating in my obvious sits list?

Brian: No.

[After THE JUMP: When will then be now?]



Jimmystats: So Many Stars. Stars Are Good

Jimmystats: So Many Stars. Stars Are Good Comment Count

Seth February 3rd, 2017 at 4:36 PM

I have revamped my player database, and learned how to make gorgeous interactive charts. Wanna see where this class stacks up?


Mouse over the dots to see whom each belongs to. The orange ones are this year’s class (they limit free users to only a few colors and I was trying out a bunch of these).

[UPDATE: Didn’t see that they limit your views too. No more interactivity—if somebody knows a good site to build these let me know. In the meantime if you download this and open it in your browser I think it will work for you.

The spreadsheet still lives here and includes a ton of updated data thanks to some readers who helped me out. If you want to see the actual ratings and rankings that went into these numbers I’ve put that all on a separate tab. Behold:

I had some help. Reader David Moorhead pulled out all of his old recruiting issues of The Wolverine that had data going back to 1990. Much of the National Recruiting Advisor (ancestor of Rivals), Parade, Lemming, PrepStar, Street & Smith, USA Today, and SuperPrep (Scout predecessor) data came from his work. Also reader Jeff Alotta helped me play around with the math some as I tried to rebuild how I give out star ratings for regional and national position ranks.




The receivers and front seven look amazing when stacked against the players who’ve come through here in the modern era. It’s also a very balanced class. And it’s huge. Getting to Best Class Ever™ would be tough. The Class of ’94 formed the basis of a national championship team and while not everyone stuck around almost everyone made it to the NFL. The next class then produced two guys in the conversation for greatest football player who ever lived in Woodson and Brady. On the other hand this class matches either of those in average quality, and then doubles the size.


That appears to be the case, statistically, when I compare the star ratings of past players to how many games they started at Michigan. Note not just the trendline, but where the NFL players came from:


click biggerates.

The average star rating (on my 5-star sliding scale) of a future NFL player coming out of high school was just under 4.25. That’s roughly equivalent to a top-125 player who’s the #2 player in Ohio or the 9th best cornerback in a deep year.

That r-squared is saying “they’re related but star rating is no guarantee.” Note however that lots of starts don’t necessarily mean quality, e.g. Ezeh. You should also note that the number of little diamonds bunched at zero starts gets thinned out considerably as it gets into the 4-star range. This is consistent with every other study that compares on-field performance to recruiting ranking, which always show you can get great players from the 3-star ranks but the higher-rated players are progressively more likely to contribute.

Let’s blow up that bottom corner to see the 5-stars who had fewer than 10 starts at Michigan:


It’s hard to look at that and make a claim that the scouts got it wrong. Five of the seven left with eligibility remaining to play with another Power 5 school or the Yankees—Fargas, Simmons, and Mallett would all play well as upperclassmen elsewhere and stick in NFL. Baraka couldn’t stay sober, so that wasn’t even a scouting issue. Henson is a special case.

That leaves Green and Grady. On review of every other consensus 5-star running back in recruiting database history up to when Green committed that seems to just be horrible bad luck.  Grady and Green were overrated or undeveloped, which sucks since every other RB rated as highly was either awesome or lost his career to something not related to talent.


The last two classes, like the 2012-’13 hauls under Hoke, are making up for the two smaller classes between. The 2016 class had to play a lot of guys right away to fill the depth chart and this year will be the same. There’s no way around having an incredibly young team this year. By next year however these hauls will start to show. I think we’re done with 30-man classes for the time being.

National championship teams have to get close enough for luck to do the rest. The 2016 team was that with terrible luck despite a lot more misses than normal for the quality and size of Hoke’s early classes that built it. Harbaugh’s found Michigan another one or two shots at it again down the road. That’s all you can ask.


WTKA Roundtable 2/2/2017: How You Like Me Now?

WTKA Roundtable 2/2/2017: How You Like Me Now?


[Bill Rapai]

Things Discussed:

  • Aubrey Solomon: We know what he says if he likes you; if he doesn’t like you he’ll let your quarterback know. James Hudson: Impressed that he was listed at 295 because that’s ready to go size.
  • Best wide receiver class ever? Sam has some old recruiting stories and a lot of big receiver hauls going back to the early ’90s. Who’s the #2 receiver in this class?
  • Drew Singleton calls in, talks about how he fell in love with Michigan, what position he’ll come in to play, and the New Jersey to Michigan Express.
  • Who’s the viper? Could be Singleton, or JKP, or Jordan Glasgow. Position shakeouts will happen over the offseason.
  • Are M-OSU running away with the conference? MSU always loses the battle to Michigan but who knows, maybe their 2-stars will be Cook, Waynes, Dennard and Conklin again.
  • More around the conference: Maryland’s class: Durkin’s secret to recruiting. Diminishing Wisconsin, Penn State and Nebraska on the rise. But why are you sleeping on Wisconsin?
  • Nationally? Tom Herman will be fine. Florida will not. How did USC do it? Stanford has just 14 players but they’re all really good. Odd that Clemson’s national championship didn’t result in more. Missing Ole Miss.
  • The black hole of Mississippi

You can catch the entire episode on Michigan Insider's podcast stream on Audioboom.

Segment two is here. Segment three is here.


MGoRadio 2.12: Projecting of the Stars

MGoRadio 2.12: Projecting of the Stars

2 hours and 4 minutes


MGoRadio is recorded before a live retail audience at The Bo Store, 333 S. Main. Special guest: Steve Lorenz of 247 Sports.


The Sponsors

We can do this because people support us. You should support them too so they’ll want to do it again next year! The show is presented by the Bo Store, UGP & Moe's, and if it wasn’t for Rishi and Ryan we probably would have real jobs.

Our other sponsors are also key to all of this: Homesure Lending, Ann Arbor Elder Law, the Residence Inn Ann Arbor Downtown, the University of Michigan Alumni Association, Deo Bookkeeping, Michigan Law Grad, Defensive Drivers Group, and Peak Wealth Management.


Offensive Recruits

starts at 39:57

Listen as we wait on Niko Collins. OL class is big but didn’t close the way we wanted to see. Receiver corps: hoooooooooo boy. Where do we rate the receivers after DPJ? Also, about DPJ.

Defensive Recruits

starts at 39:58

Camp guys ended up nationally ranked 4-stars. One of the best highlight videos Ace has ever seen. The awesome DL class may actually be underrated—one of the 3T/5T recruits is half Willie Henry and half Jake Ryan. The LB class missed out on Gay but still, hoooooo. Everybody’s watching #5 and who is this kid? And would have liked another defensive back but again two great-looking cornerbacks we comp to Jourdan Lewis and Richard Sherman.

Lightning Round of Across the Crooked Blue Line

starts at 1:23:23

Finding something to complain about is hard. Finding something to like is easy unless you ask us to pick a favorite. Brown got to go LB shopping among elites for the first time in his life.


starts at 1:53:20

Say something Ace, oh wait he can’t because he’s been defeated. Wagner era begins with weird whistles and 14 minuets of Donnal vs. Nick Ward—thanks Breslin! Walton isn’t soft but calling him soft can tap some crazy new level of Walton.



  • “I Don’t Want to Wait”—Paula Cole
  • “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want”—The Smiths
  • “Santa Baby”—Eartha Kitt
  • “Across 110th Street”



Hello Again: Aubrey Solomon

Hello Again: Aubrey Solomon Comment Count

Ace February 1st, 2017 at 4:41 PM

[Tony Morano/247Sports]

This is an all-timer.

I've written this post before. Then-four-star Lee County (GA) DT Aubrey Solomon committed to Michigan on June 18th, 2016, catching everyone, including his own mother, off guard. He rescinded that pledge in August after receiving a note from Michigan thanking him for attending the BBQ at the Big House—an event he did not attend—that, to add insult to carelessness, contained multiple misspellings of his name. His mother, who didn't accompany him on the visit to Ann Arbor when he made his initial commitment, would be playing a larger role in his recruitment, he said. In-state Georgia was now the favorite. Since then, Solomon:

  • Took a September unofficial to Georgia, after which his mother gave an extensive, glowing interview to UGA's 247 outlet.
  • Told 247 "I love the Crimson Tide" and said he knew of three official visits: Alabama, Clemson, and Georgia.
  • Missed a planned visit to Georgia to take the SAT.
  • Said Georgia "sticks out."
  • Set a Michigan official visit out of the blue, took it, and named them his new leader.
  • Said he'd been to Georgia enough that he no longer needed to take an official there but was considering multiple unofficials to Athens.
  • Officially visited Alabama for the Iron Bowl, a trip he'd later call "eye-opening."
  • Set official visits to USC, Florida, and Georgia for January.
  • Arrived at the Army Bowl, where he said Bama held a "huge" lead.
  • While at the Army Bowl, said "f*** Michigan" on the Periscope stream of Georgia commit (and one-time Michigan commit) Jeremiah Hollomon.
  • Apologized for the above.
  • Still at the Army Bowl, his mother gave a multi-part interview to Sam Webb in which she said Michigan and Alabama were "neck and neck" while strongly insinuating she preferred the academics in Ann Arbor.
  • Hosted multiple Alabama coaches the day before his USC OV.
  • Hosted Jim Harbaugh, Jim Harbaugh's daughter Addie, and Chris Partridge for an in-home visit that featured family go-karting.
  • Hosted Alabama coaches on two more occasions in January, including a visit from Nick Saban, Tosh Lupoi, and two more Bama assistants just before the dead period.
  • Committed to Michigan.

Oh, and somewhere in there, Solomon had a dominant senior season and Army Bowl week that resulted in his ascension to five-star status.

Needless to say, this recruitment defied convention and expectation. Solomon's Crystal Ball tracker is reminiscent of a KenPom win chart from a wild late comeback:

Solomon is Michigan's 28th commit in the 2017 class and the third at DT, joining James Hudson and Phil Paea. SDEs Donovan Jeter and Deron Irving-Bey could also slide inside if needed. Solomon slots in behind early enrollee Donovan Peoples-Jones as the second-highest rated recruit in the class.


Scout Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp
5*, #2 DT,
#11 Ovr
5*, #2 DT,
#31 Ovr
4*, 84, #5 DT,
#63 Ovr
5*, 98, #3 DT,
#30 Ovr
5*, #2 DT,
#25 Ovr

Hot damn. Solomon is a five-star to every site save ESPN, which has barely moved Solomon since his initial commitment (he was #61 at the time), probably because they haven't updated his evaluation for his senior season. Fire-and-forget at its finest.

Solomon, who's listed at either 6'3" or 6'4" on the four sites, played at over 300 pounds in his junior year, then shed some bad weight and played at closer to 285 in his senior season. He's ahead of the game in the process of building himself up to ideal weight and build.

[Hit THE JUMP for scouting, video, and more.]


Hello: Nico Collins

Hello: Nico Collins Comment Count

Ace February 1st, 2017 at 3:24 PM

[Isaiah Hole/247Sports]

Michigan has its second Signing Day commitment from a blue chip recruit hailing from deep in SEC country. After five-star GA DT Aubrey Solomon pledged this morning, Pinson (AL) Clay-Chalkville WR Nico Collins closed out the class by choosing the Wolverines over Georgia.

While Collins didn't quite have as dramatic a recruitment as Solomon, his took similar twists and turns; he was long considered a Michigan lock until a late Georgia surge that the Wolverines managed to overcome. He's the 30th commit in the 2017 class and the fifth at wide receivier, joining Donovan Peoples-Jones, Tarik Black, Oliver Martin, and Brad Hawkins.


Scout Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp
4*, #24 WR,
#178 Ovr
4*, #17 WR,
#120 Ovr
4*, 82, #21 WR,
#150 Ovr
4*, 92, #29 WR,
#200 Ovr
4*, #23 WR,
#136 Ovr

After Rivals briefly had Collins in five-star territory, there's now a strong consensus on his ability; all four sites have in a relatively tight range in both the overall and position rankings, with Rivals still on the bullish end and 247 on the bearish.

Collins is a tall, burly receiver. He measured in a 6'5", 202 pounds at The Opening finals last July.

[Hit THE JUMP for scouting, offers, video, and more.]


Future Blue Derivatives: Oliver Martin

Future Blue Derivatives: Oliver Martin Comment Count

Adam Schnepp January 31st, 2017 at 10:00 AM

oliver martin

[Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette]

The sinuous path of Oliver Martin’s recruitment has reached its end with Martin’s Michigan pledge last evening. Martin seemed like he might commit to Michigan at any time this past fall; after appearing to be a Notre Dame lean, 247’s Crystal Ball moved in favor of Michigan before moving back to Notre Dame and finally ending solidly in favor of Michigan. Crootin! With all the buzz around his name, I decided to look for a full game to scout. Thanks to Friday Night Lights’ youtube account, we’re able to take a look at the 4A state title game.

It’s still better to have a full game than a highlight tape to scout, but there are times—as happened here—where there are extenuating circumstances that limit a player’s productivity. Dowling bracketed Martin all game, and it wasn’t until late in the second half that West would try to duplicate the one successful target they had in the second quarter by having Martin run deep ins. On top of that, Dowling’s pass rush was too much for West HS; their QB often found himself scrambling away from one or two un/partially-blocked defenders and flipping the ball to a nearby safety valve. Even so, there were impressive parts of Martin’s game worth noting.

[Note: Martin’s typically lined up at the bottom of the screen. The easiest way to spot him, though, is to find the guy in the knee-high white socks.]

[Hit THE JUMP for Martin’s scouting report]


Hello: Oliver Martin

Hello: Oliver Martin Comment Count

Ace January 30th, 2017 at 9:46 PM

[Brian Perroni/247Sports]

Michigan reeled in one of their top remaining targets when four-star Iowa City (IA) West WR Oliver Martin announced his commitment on 247Sports, going public with a decision he'd already made.

Iowa City (Iowa) West Top247 receiver Oliver Martin was soaking wet.

Having just committed to Michigan, the U.S. Army All-American receiver along with Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh and assistant Pep Hamilton jumped in the pool with their clothes on to celebrate.

Martin’s little sister Ruby, a world-class swimmer was in the pool getting her workout in as family surrounded the four-star recruit as he made the decision to play for the Maize and Blue.

Martin choose the Wolverines over Michigan State and Notre Dame, among many others.

The Spartans were, in fact, Martin's first major offer, getting in on him before he blew up at The Opening finals. Martin appeared destined to go to Michigan once they offered and began serious pursuit, then looked headed to South Bend when it appeared Nico Collins would take the last WR spot. Michigan rekindled interest as Collins looked more likely to stay in the South. At one point recently, 247's Steve Lorenz reported the coaching staffs at Michigan, MSU, and ND all believed they would land Martin. In-state Iowa was hanging around. Ohio State briefly emerged as a threat after Tyjon Lindsay's decommitment but Martin never made his planned official visit there.

After visits from Jim Harbaugh, the guy who once hit Jim Harbaugh with a mail truck, and Pep Hamilton, as well as a final trip to Ann Arbor, Martin decided to join the 2017 class. He's the 27th commit in the class and the fourth at receiver, joining Donovan Peoples-Jones, Tarik Black, and Brad Hawkins. With the way his recruitment is trending, Michigan may very well add Collins to that number, too. They haven't had a better group of receivers in one class in recent memory.


Scout Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp
4*, #30 WR,
#216 Ovr
4*, #35 WR,
#206 Ovr
4*, 80, #60 WR 4*, 97, #7 WR,
#47 Ovr
4*, #28 WR,
#170 Ovr

Martin was a relative unknown on the recruiting trail until a breakout performance at The Opening last summer, which took him from a three-star to a nationally ranked prospect in most places. Scout and Rivals settled on ranking him ~200th overall and there's an outlier on each side. ESPN has him as a four-star but well outside their top 300 (the last WR to make the cut is 41st in the position rankings), while 247 shot him into the top 100 after The Opening and moved him up again after the Army Bowl.

Martin is listed at 6'1" (or 6'0.5" in 247's case) and 185-192 pounds on all four sites. While he's generally regarded as a slot, he could play inside or outside in college.

[Hit THE JUMP for scouting, video, impact on the class, and more.]


Jimmystats: Comps for 2017 Offensive Recruits

Jimmystats: Comps for 2017 Offensive Recruits Comment Count

Seth January 12th, 2017 at 4:23 PM


Squint really hard—is there a Lewanlong in there?

When updating the roster I also of course grabbed the current rankings and star ratings from each site for the committed players. I was having some fun seeing where they fit among past Michigan recruits, and figured I might as well share.

Explanation of numbers: My☆s” ratings are a composite score on a sliding 5-star scale that averages the available recruiting site data. So for example 247sports had Shane Morris a 95, and the 81st overall recruit. On my scale that would be a 4.4-star, the equivalent of a 5.9 in the top 100 to Rivals, a 4-star in the top 100 on Scout, and an 84 on ESPN. Weights in the second column are as a recruit. Also the old ESPN grades are scaled to match (as best as possible) their modern ratings system. Pre-2002 ratings are not to be trusted because those data I have are mostly just stars, with the occasional top-100 or something, and pre-1996 is the recruiting dark ages.

Please get the point: This is not a “You might remember me from such players as,” which is based on scouting—you’ll have to wait for the 2017 recruiting posts this spring and summer before we can make those kinds of claims. The tape and offers can sometimes tell a very different story than the scouting services, to say nothing of fit and who’s doing the offering.

The point here is to orient you as to how highly rated these guys are, because “he’s a 4-star” can mean a ton of things but “he’s right around where Kekoa Crawford ended up” is a mark.


Dylan McCaffrey (M rank as recruit since 1995: 9/25)

Rk Name Cl Ht/Wt* Rivals Scout ESPN 247 ☆s
4 Jason Kapsner ’96 6'6 /220 - SUPERPREP:
#7 QB, AA
#1 PRO
- 4.60
5 Shane Morris ’13 6'3/183 6.0 (#4 DUAL)
#81 OVR
5* (#3 QB)
#40 OVR
84 (#8 QB)
#127 OVR
95 (#4 PRO)
#81 OVR
6 Brandon Peters ’16 6'5/216 5.9 (#6 PRO)
#158 OVR
4* (#4 QB)
#77 OVR
85 (#3 PP)
#60 OVR
96 (#4 PRO)
#34 OVR
7 Tom Brady ’95 6'5/215 - - LEMMING:
#6 PRO
- 4.40
8 Devin Gardner ’10 6'4/195 5.9 (#1 DUAL)
#132 OVR
5* (#5 QB)
#43 OVR
84 (#5 DT)
#128 OVR
96 (#1 DUAL)
#44 OVR
9 Dylan McCaffrey ’17 6'5/196 6.0 (#4 DUAL)
#52 OVR
4* (#8 QB)
#109 OVR
84 (#2 PP)
#60 OVR
95 (#4 PRO)
#58 OVR
10 Clayton Richard ’03 6'4/225 4* (#4 PRO)
#71 OVR
4* (#13 QB)
not ranked
#20 OVR
11 Matt Gutierrez ’02 6'4/206 4* (#5 PRO)
#96 OVR
4* (#12 QB)
not ranked
#26 OVR - 4.27
12 Tate Forcier ’09 6'1/184 5.9 (#5 DUAL)
#164 OVR
4* (#15 QB)
#137 OVR
84 (#14 QB)
#144 OVR
- 4.20
13 Denard Robinson ’09 6'0/179 5.8 (#14 ATH)
#188 OVR
4* (#16 CB)
#159 OVR
84 (#7 ATH)
#101 OVR
- 4.07
15 Alex Malzone ’15 6'2/205 5.8 (#11 PRO)
not ranked
4* (#14 QB)
#185 OVR
80 (#16 PP)
not ranked
88 (#15 PRO)
not ranked

Go look at the QB class of 2004 if you doubt a #13 was pretty good.

Between Devin Gardner and Clayton Richard/Tate Forcier, but I see a closer comp to Shane Morris except taller and more Harbaugh. Like Morris, McCaffrey created disagreement as to whether he’s a pro-style or dual-threat, and he was a consensus five-star before slipping down to wind up a high-ish 4-star. If he slipped a bit further, it’s probably not as much as Shane would have fallen in today’s more dynamic rankings world. McCaffrey may also get moved up a bit as ESPN finalizes their ratings—Brandon Peters was ranked the same nationally—60th overall—but got a score of 85.

That McCaffrey was recruited by Harbaugh, not Borges, is important. When I went through all the quarterbacks Harbaugh recruited to Stanford the vast majority of his targets wound up good quarterbacks. In 2008 he got Luck and almost got RGIII but for Stanford’s admissions policy. The following year three out of his five offers (Matt Barkley, Taysom Hill, and Brock Osweiler) ended up Heisman candidates, and the other two (Josh Nunes at Stanford and Allan Bridgford at Cal) were starters. As for Borges, his one scouting success story so far is Wilton Speight…after two years of being coached by Harbaugh.

[Hit THE JUMP for more.]


Future Blue Derivatives: Cass vs King

Future Blue Derivatives: Cass vs King Comment Count

Adam Schnepp January 12th, 2017 at 10:01 AM


[David Nasternak]

Donovan Peoples-Jones, Jaylen Kelly-Powell, and Ambry Thomas are no strangers to being featured in Future Blue Originals posts; David and I scouted October’s Cass-King PSL playoff game, and Ace, David, and I took in King’s game against Southfield A&T in the Prep Kickoff Classic. With Michigan losing their top two outside receivers, Peppers at SAM, and Lewis and Stribling at corner, it seemed like the time to take another look at the three Cass and King commits that have a shot at seeing the field for Michigan in 2017.

I headed back to the Youtube mine to find another complete game film chock-full of Michigan prospects. This time we’ll take a look at the regular-season meeting between Cass Tech and King, which was played in early October on Cass’s weather-beaten field; you’ll see the sloppy field conditions come into play multiple times throughout, though not to the point where we’re unable to get a good feel for the incoming freshmen’s strengths and weaknesses. A quick aside: I’ve had this tab open since the video was posted, and in that time Mike James has uploaded more full games that would very much be of interest to Michigan fans.

[Hit THE JUMP for the scouting reports]