Recruits In Retrospect: 2010 Defense

Recruits In Retrospect: 2010 Defense

Submitted by Ace on May 15th, 2015 at 2:06 PM

Previously: 2008 Offense2008 Defense2009 Defense2009 Quarterbacks2009 Offense, 2010 Offense

The series continues with a look back at the defensive prospects in Michigan's 2010 recruiting class. Rich Rodriguez took 16 defenders in the class; more of them failed to make it to the opening kickoff of their freshman year (four) than advanced all the way to Senior Day (three).

I apologize in advance.

Those Who Stayed


Obi Ezeh!

Especially in retrospect, Jake Ryan's recruitment was bizarre. Ryan was the most productive defender on a state-title-winning Cleveland St. Ignatius squad that got plenty of exposure; he played next to Ohio State commit Scott McVey; his highlight tape provided more than a glimpse of what he'd become at Michigan. He looked a whole lot like Jake MF Ryan, minus the flowing locks.

Yet Ryan went unranked for much of the process, and even after a strong senior season only earned middling three-star rankings. Michigan didn't offer Ryan until he took an official visit a couple weeks before Signing Day. Ryan, holding only MAC offers, committed the next day. Reading his profile today makes me wonder if I unwittingly ingested all of the drugs:

Why Obi Ezeh? Ryan is a big, slightly clunky middle linebacker who will easily reach Ezeh's current 245 pounds and may outgrow the position entirely. As a recruit Ezeh was an anonymous three-star in about the same range Ryan is; he was also a sleeper-type pickup who had not been on anyone's radar before Michigan grabbed him. Ryan is praised for his vertical attacking and dogged for his ability to cut through the trash sideline-to-sideline or effectively cover zones; Ezeh's career is ably summed up by those critiques.

Ryan has some assets Ezeh doesn't: a high school career at linebacker (Ezeh was mostly a running back), a head start on the system he'll be playing in, and Greg Robinson as a position coach. Hopefully he'll have some consistency in coaching as well.

Notably, Greg Robinson as a position coach was listed as a positive. Greg Robinson as a defensive coordinator was... not.

Jibreel Black's profile spent a lot of time hoping he'd become at least a poor man's Brandon Graham. While Black didn't come close to Graham's heights, he was a solid contributor his last three years, and he could've been more productive if Michigan's issues with D-line depth didn't force him into a role as a 275-pound nose tackle for much of his senior season. Black is one of many players from the Rodriguez/Hoke era whose career would've benefited from a redshirt year he wasn't afforded.

The career of Courtney Avery saw him go from promising freshman corner to clearly undersized spot starter to senior utility man—he'd finish his time at Michigan with 19 starts, five of them at safety in 2013. Avery was also a two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, which shouldn't come as a surprise since he flipped his commitment from Stanford to Michigan; his high school coach thought very highly of him:

“He’s the type of kid that if he wants to be president of the United States one day, he will be. I got two compliments I could give him. That’s the first, and the second is if my daughter was 18, she could date him."

"Thanks, Coach. I'm deeply uncomfortable."

[Hit THE JUMP, if you dare.]

Exit Davion Rogers

Exit Davion Rogers

Submitted by Brian on September 17th, 2010 at 3:15 PM

He wasn't on the roster yesterday and now it's official:

Sources close to the U-M football program have confirmed that true freshman Davion Rogers, a linebacker out of Warren, Ohio, is no longer with the program. Rogers, a 6-6, 205-pounder, came to U-M out of Warren G. Harding High School.

No idea why. Rogers reportedly had a Clearinghouse issue earlier this fall so it may be related to that. He wasn't going to play this year since he's skinnier than Roy Roundtree but seemed to have a lot of long-term potential; his departure is another hit to the APR, which seems like it will inevitably drop below 925 now at some point, and another hit to the depth of the defense. Michigan's most recent class has now lost Austin White, Demar Dorsey, Conelius Jones, Antonio Kinard, and Davion Rogers just a month into their freshman years. At some point this has to stop happening, right?

UPDATE: The News confirms and gets someone saying that it was a clearinghouse issue, which means it shouldn't impact Michigan's APR. Tim pointed out that if he was out before the drop/add deadline he wouldn't have counted against the APR anyway. Still, Michigan and Rodriguez have to do a better job of identifying players who will get on campus.

2010 Recruiting: Davion Rogers

2010 Recruiting: Davion Rogers

Submitted by Brian on June 2nd, 2010 at 12:22 PM

Previously: S Carvin Johnson, S Ray Vinopal, S Marvin Robinson, CB Courtney Avery, CB Terrence Talbott, CB Cullen Christian, CB Demar Dorsey, and LB Jake Ryan.

Warren, OH - 6'6" 210

   
Davion Rogers

Scout 3*, #102 OLB
Rivals 3*, #28 OLB, #18 OH
ESPN 3*, 78, #29 OLB
Others NR
Other Suitors Michigan State, West Virginia
YMRMFSPA Shawn Crable except skinnier
Previously On MGoBlog Commitment post.
Notes Warren G. Harding also produced Mario Manningham, Prescott Burgess, and classmate DJ Williamson.
Film

Linebacker Davion Rogers was another late pickup recruitniks were given little warning on. A longtime WVU commitment, Rogers went from totally off the radar to visiting to committed in the span of a few days, leaving West Virginia grasping (again: by that point Michigan had already pirated Pahokee DE/DT Richard Ash from the Mountaineers; the two defections were part of a disastrous post-Doc-Holliday-departure decommit binge) and Michigan fans scrambling to figure out how a high school linebacker could be skinnier than Shawn Crable. As of press time, this was still under investigation.

No, seriously. The 6'6" 210 you see above is the approximate mean of all the listed heights and weights I found, and it may significantly understate how close a resemblance there is between Rogers and a space elevator. When Greg Ladky took in Harding's 10-7 loss against St. Ignatius and Jake Ryan, he noted the roster listed him at 6'7"(!) and 190 pounds(!!!). Do not take this man parasailing. He will not land.

As you might expect when the topic is a 6'7" stick of a linebacker, Rogers sounds an awful lot like Shawn Crable. Worm02, a guy who has hung around the internet talking about WGH players for years now, makes the direct comparison to the former Massillon flightless bird: 

When you see his height, you think of Shawn Crable.  Davion is very good, but I think that SC was better in high school.  I'll never forget when Massillon came to WGH in '02,  When we (Harding fans) saw Crable, we just said "Wow!"  Back then, Crable weighed a good 25-30 pounds more than DR does now, and he was every bit as good as he was hyped up to be.  …

Anyway, Davion has definitely come a long way.  Last year, he got his offers based on potential, but this past season, I can honestly say that he played like a guy that was going to play major college football.  He reacts quickly, flies to the ball well, plays to the end regardless of the outcome, etc.  He's a guy that college coaches can do a lot with because of what he brings to the table.  With his frame, I expect him to stay at linebacker, but WVU was actually looking at him as a possible safety.

ESPN, as they are wont to do sometimes, marries a good but not great rating with a panting evaluation. In the process they do not actually say "Crable," but they don't have to:

Rogers has the chance to a very special player at the next level because of his natural tools. He has exceptional height for a safety or outside linebacker but could gain some weight and be a dominating rush end on defense. Flows, closes and has very good range for such a tall player. Looks like a basketball player in cleats and displays toughness and good football savvy. Keeps leverage on the football when filling from the inside out. Uses hands well to shed blockers and get to the football. Could be a better knee bender but sinks his hips pretty well when making the hit. Excellent on the outside blitz demonstrating the ability to get off the ball quickly and has a burst when coming off the edge. Often sacks the quarterback or flushes him out of the pocket; shows the ability to chase the ball down from behind. Long arms are a big asset in keeping blockers off his body and wrapping up ball carriers. Rogers is very athletic for a man of his height with good speed and quickness.

That is almost exactly Crable. Crable had 30 pounds on Rogers (and still looked like a man with chicken legs) coming out of high school and therefore was a lot easier to project on the college level; other than that admittedly sizeable (HA!) difference these men are clones. His coach did not get the memo, unfortunately, choosing to compare Rogers to former Michigan linebacker Prescott Burgess, also a WGH alum:

“He always seems to come up with a play when you need one, it just happens. And that’s kind of how Prescott was as a junior. He was kind of banged up his senior year, but when he did get to play it just seemed like he made a play when you needed it. He had natural instincts.” …

"Athletically he's ready. He’s a pretty explosive player, has great knee bend. There’s a lot of great things to say about him."

In another article that Tim cited in Rogers's commitment post now lost down the newspaper archive memory hole, Dota's praise is even higher:

"He'll run down things from behind. If it's run at him, he pretty much destroys it. He's probably our best defensive player and our defense is pretty good. He's just been all over the field. He has that knack to find the football. We've asked him to do a bunch of different things this year and he's done a great job understanding what he needs to do for us. …

He's a great blitzer off the edge. Really, anything you ask him to do he does really well because of his athletic ability, which is really shocking because of his height. He plays really fast. … I think he can play at the next level - the NFL I think his game will only improve. His game has improved some much in a year. The mental knowledge, he understands what's going on around him."

Even traditionally dour local evaluator Magnus gets on board:

Watching film of him, Rogers has incredible physical talent. The most impressive thing about him is his speed. He's able to catch up to skill players from behind. His wingspan also helps him latch onto and wrap up players who might be out of a shorter player's reach. Once he gains strength, that wingspan should also afford him the ability to keep offensive tackles out of his chest.

Concerns are expressed about pursuit angles and his tendency to reach while tackling, but those are things that will get fixed as Rogers packs on pounds during his prep year or two.

Those weaknesses do indicate the main area in which Rogers needs to improve. As you might imagine, he has some difficulty playing the run since blockers can get into his midsection so easily. More from Rivals on that game against St. Igs:

STRENGTHS: Very good lateral movement for a 6-foot-6 prospect. Rogers is a force as a pass rusher and uses his length to make it difficult for ball carriers to get around him. St. Ignatius' quarterback Mark Myers was able to avoid sacks all night, except when Rogers was breathing down his neck.
WEAKNESSES: Rogers needs to be more physical taking on blockers, then shedding those blocks to make tackles.

Ladky's preseason evaluation also mentions the deficiency when taking on blockers coming at him:

Rogers is still pretty skinny, but is clearly athletic and very rangy. … He needs to improve against the run and increase his aggressiveness in taking on blockers, but as he fills in his frame, he could be a monster off the edge.

That will also be something Michigan works on.

Other evaluations are similar. Lemming says he is "tall and athletic" and "showed a lot of speed on the edge" while using his "long arms to his advantage when disengaging from the OT." JJ Huddle ranked him 29th in the state before his strong senior year, calling him a "a tall long-armed defender that has huge upside and growth potential" who is "fluid enough to drop back in coverage" and can rush off the edge. Ohio Varsity analyst Mike Parris notes the obvious redshirt stuff and then says he could be the proverbial "special talent."

The downside: Scout was way less enthused than the other two sites but that appears to be based on little. His profile shows a total of three stories on him, and a site search turns up nothing except articles from GBW and the WVU site. No one who had a say in rankings had anything to say about him the whole year. Since the WVU ESPN affiliate had to prod ESPN into watching the guy's tape, maybe Rogers managed to slide under the radar. How, I don't know. I'd expect people to take note of a 6'6" linebacker. Obviously he avoided the combine circuit.

After all that, Rogers's recruitment was abbreviated by an early commitment to West Virginia. He had a Michigan State offer at that point as well. His commitment and some questionable grades (about which more later) saw his recruitment go dead. Prior to his visit to Michigan he was not even known to be a soft commit, and his immediate switch prevented anyone else from getting involved. Due to the grade issues and the early commit, offers aren't a great metric here.

At Michigan, Rogers will be an outside linebacker until such time as he outgrows the position and slides into Craig Roh's current role as a LB/DE hybrid. West Virginia was actually thinking about him as as safety:

"They like me at linebacker, but they might look into playing me as a strong safety," Rogers said. "I'll do whatever they ask me to do. I just want to be able represent myself the best way that I can. I'm looking forward to any opportunity that they give me to play. I'm very excited."

That likely won't happen at Michigan but it speaks well of his physical abilities. As does Rogers himself from the same article:

"I've got the feet of a safety, I hit like a linebacker and the size of a defensive end. I get to the ball. No matter what I'm going to get to the ball. I'm determined to get to that ball."

Rogers is a high ceiling guy with a very long way to go, a quintessential boom-or-bust type. The two sites above that have him around #30 nationally as an OLB are ranking him fairly—with so much projection required it's hard to justify higher placement—but Rogers is the kind of guy who can be a star on a great defense. Michigan does not have many of those at linebacker of late.

Brief but necessary grade section. So this is kind of a hilarious dig at one of Michigan's rivals and their quasi-rival:

Rogers said he committed to West Virginia over Michigan State early in the recruiting process because “my grade situation, it was looking bad,” and he didn’t know what other offers he’d receive.

Unfortunately, that dig is a little unsettling given the issues with Antonio Kinard and Demar Dorsey. FWIW, Webb said he had confirmed that everyone else was good to go, and Worm02 notes that Rogers has picked it up now that he knows what's on the line:

I'm definitely going to be on him about how he goes about handling his business as he prepares for the next level, but lately he's been doing a pretty good job of doing what he has to do.  I'm definitely excited for him.

So he's qualified but it sounds like he might be a little marginal. His coach says "I just hope that when he gets there he takes on what he needs to do, and I think he will" in the Birkett article linked above.

Why Shawn Crable? Obvious.

Etc.: West Virginia decommit bitchin'.

Guru Reliability: Moderate. We obviously know what we're getting and WGH is a heavily scouted school, but the major difference in the Scout evaluation and the fact Rogers has to put on 20, 30, 40 pounds before playing make projecting him difficult. A Rogers that is just as fast as this Rogers but weighs 250 is a first round pick, but that's quite a trick there.
General Excitement Level: High, eventually. Most of the scouting reports report some outrageous athleticism just waiting to be developed. The crazy frame gives him a major advantage coming off the edge and his athleticism is such that West Virginia was actually looking at him as a
Projection: Will take the Crable/Roundtree Memorial redshirt-so-you-don't-get-broken-in-half, and will probably get only sparing time in 2011; in 2012 and beyond will be an edge-rushing terror as an outside linebacker.

2010 Recruiting Class: 1,000 Foot Overview, Defense

2010 Recruiting Class: 1,000 Foot Overview, Defense

Submitted by Brian on February 17th, 2010 at 12:20 PM

I'll be embarking on a project similar to last year's recruit profiles in the near future, but that effort will last into the summer—the final profile last year (Tate Forcier) didn't go up until June 25th—and some words about how Michigan did will be far less timely then.

The other side of the ball was examined last week.

Defensive End

The Gentlemen Of Leisure

jibreel black We'll throw quick end in here, too, and why not? Seemingly half the defensive recruits in the class said they were recruited to play the spot. Michigan has plenty of needs elsewhere so this intrepid reporter is going to put Jordan Paskorz, and only Jordan Paskorz, here. Antonio Kinard and Davion Rogers will be filed as linebackers; Ken Wilkins is already pushing 250 and will be filed as a strongside defensive end.

On Paskorz: he is a generic three star to the world, a guy who gets 5.6 on the Rivals scale—5.7 is a high three star, 5.6 a middling one—and had offers that reflected that. Michigan's main competitors were Pitt and Virginia. He won't have to play much until he's a redshirt sophomore—that's when when Craig Roh backup Brandon Herron graduates—and we're unlikely to see him until then.

The strongside guys have a bit more to recommend them. Jibreel Black (right)and Ken Wilkins are 4/3 star tweeners (e.g., one of Scout or Rivals has them at four, the other at three). Wilkins hails from the same high school that Ohio State recruit Andrew Sweat and Penn State recruit Mike Yancich attended, and his coach believes he's more athletic than either:

"He is an unbelievable physical talent," Dalton said. "And he is only going to get better. I have had some great players here, but nothing like Ken physically. I am not saying he is going to be better than Yancich and Sweat, but he is the most physically talented player I've had."

Black, meanwhile, was a guy Michigan was hot after all year but could never get on campus until late January. By then he'd already committed to Indiana (where his brother had an excellent season) and Cincinnati (which is approximately three minutes from home). He's got the same body type as Brandon Graham, albeit without most of his hype. The insider-type folk say, and Michigan's dogged pursuit implies, that whatever the guru folk thought Michigan wanted Black badly.

Preposterously Early Letter Grade

B+. They got about the right number of bodies to fill out two thin spots on defense and I like the long term potential of both strongside guys. A blue-chip would have been nice.

Impact This Year?

Hopefully little, but given the depth chart at SDE it seems like either Black or Wilkins will have to burn a redshirt as a backup unless Anthony LaLota got a lot bigger during his redshirt year.

Defensive Tackle

The Gentlemen Of Leisure

Michigan missed out on a true nose when Jonathan Hankins picked Ohio State. They did grab two promising three-tech recruits in Terry Talbott and Pahokee's Richard Ash. Both have size issues: Talbott is currently around 240 and is a guy some observers thought would end up at defensive end. According to Rod Smith, Ash is now over 300 pounds; given his recruitment that seems more like a problem to be fixed than a solution to Michigan's nose tackle issue. Teams backed away from Ash when he showed up to Florida's camp overweight.

On the other hand, both have talent. Talbott almost defected to North Carolina late; when Tim went down to catch a Wayne game this fall he was a wrecking ball in the backfield. He's an excellent, disruptive fit for the penetrating defensive tackle spot he's slated for. The teams backing away from Ash after his weight issues, meanwhile, were USC and Florida. Ash has upside for Barwis to extract, and he's got a host of Pahokee folk up here to help him adjust. If he puts in the work, Michigan will have a guy who could play for Florida's defensive line.

Preposterously Early Letter Grade

B-. No nose tackle is a downer. Michigan will have one guy there next year if Mike Martin moves unless Ash can actually handle that weight. Outside of that, though, both recruits seem like they might be underrated.

Impact This Year?

Assuming the RVB move, Michigan will have a veteran two-deep at defensive tackle but Talbott and Ash will be next in line after that. If there's an injury, one or both might be pressed to play. I imagine Michigan will try to redshirt both; they might not be able to.

Linebacker

The Gentlemen Of Leisure

davion-rogersDavion Rogers needs to eat a sandwich 

A late flurry of offers and a little snake oil turned this position group from a gaping sore into… well, a considerably less gaping sore. Late additions Davion Rogers and Jake Ryan are just three star sorts, but given Michigan's situation before they hopped aboard they're welcome. Rogers is a 6'6" birdman of a linebacker/DE prospect who everyone, including me, will compare to Shawn Crable. Michigan pirated him away from WVU once Doc Holliday left. Early in his career he'll probably play the weakside linebacker spot occupied by Jonas Mouton currently; if he puts on enough weight we'll see him at quick.

Ryan popped up late after an Omameh-like senior year where he grew two inches and twenty pounds and outplayed Ohio State commit, teammate, and fellow linebacker Scott McVey en route to a state championship. McVey was playing with a busted shoulder, FWIW, but Ryan is a heady kid who actually played linebacker in high school—a rarity for Michigan of late—and is at least a reasonable prospect to start in a year or two.

A couple players may end up at spinner, the strongside linebacker/safety position last occupied by Stevie Brown, but for right now the only guy in the class this blog places at the spot is uber-athlete Josh Furman, AKA Dhani Jones 2.0. Furman was a ridiculously productive safety and tailback in high school who hit camps and dropped electronically timed 4.3 40s. Scout thinks he's awesome; Rivals again goes "meh." He's clearly got a ton of upside.

Antonio Kinard got a super-early offer and committed to it, but did little during his senior season to assuage concerns he was an iffy bet. He, too, might end up at quick but will be filed a linebacker for the moment.

Preposterously Early Letter Grade

C-. The late pickups salvaged this grade but the emphasis is on "salvage." The only inside linebacker Michigan picked up in the last class was Isaiah Bell and the guys in the class before that are gone (Witherspoon and Hill), seemingly locked into special teams forever (Demens), and JB Fitzgerald. Michigan needed numbers here, and they ended up with numbers, but they also needed a blue chip or two and they did not get one. Furman is a recruit you can get excited about, but that's 1/4.

Impact This Year?

Redshirts for everyone, in all likelihood, except possibly Furman. Even Furman will have to beat out two guys with almost two years of experience in fall camp if he's going to win a job.

Cornerback

The Gentlemen Of Leisure

Michigan will bolster its roster with four cornerbacks this fall. They come in two flavors. Flavor one consists of short three-stars from Ohio. They are Courtney Avery and Terrance Talbott. Avery was a prolific, tiny high school quarterback who only moonlighted on defense. He made first team All-Ohio and chose Michigan over a Stanford decommit not because of grades but because he wanted to stay closer to home. Talbott is the other Talbott's brother and struggled through injuries most of his senior year but has received positive reviews from local observers. There's some reason for optimism on both.

cullen-christian

Cullen Christian needs no ball security

Flavor two consists of blue-chips anyone and everyone wanted who held preposterously long press conferences. Cullen Christian is the #3 corner to Scout and in the Rivals 100; he picked Michigan over Ohio State and many others after a long period of favoring Michigan. 6'1" and physical, Christian's YMRMFSPA is a holy lock to be Marlin Jackson. Demar Dorsey you may have heard about. He picked Michigan over Florida State and USC after being a Florida commit for over a year. He's the #12 player overall to ESPN and a four-star to the other sites.

Preposterously Early Letter Grade

A. Four players, two of them blue-chips, at a position of crying need.

Impact This Year?

One of these kids is guaranteed to play unless JT Floyd takes a huge leap forward. A second is likely to find his way into a nickel package. If one of them is really good right away, you could see him start immediately and Troy Woolfolk move to safety. Michigan will probably redshirt one; the other three will have to play.

Safety

The Gentlemen Of Leisure

marvin-robinson-seeexy We'll put Marvin Robinson (OMG HALFSHIRT) here because he's likely to play the box safety* we've been discussing extensively. Robinson is the defense's Ricardo Miller, a hyped-to-the-moon Florida prospect who seemed likely to be a five-star (or thereabouts) only to experience a precipitous drop in ranking. Robinson's drop came after a few camps he participated in. In the aftermath, Rivals gurus trashed his coverage ability and said he was a linebacker and nothing else. He still held on to a fourth star, though, and fielded offers from Ohio State and several other power programs before going with the Michigan program that had led for him seemingly forever.

The class rounds out with two sleeper-type prospects. I'm considerably more bullish on Carvin Johnson, who apparently avoided the combine circuit entirely this summer, was the best player on his team, and prompted an unsolicited email of praise from local coach (not his) when this site's initial take on him was "meh." He also won the MVP award in a state championship game his team lost by a billion points. Late LSU interest was not reciprocated.

Ray Vinopal is the kind of recruit that everyone on the internet hates on, prompting articles in which he declares a desire to prove everyone wrong and press conferences where Rich Rodriguez justifies signing the guy. The internet is not necessarily wrong, though. At the time of his commitment Vinopal was a who-dat with no recruiting profile despite his presence in Ohio power Cardinal Mooney's secondary. He apparently picked up a couple of good offers late (Wisconsin was the biggest) but the heuristics indicate a marginal contributor.

*(MGoBlog is officially adopting "box" and "deep" as its chosen lingo for Michigan safeties in what appears to be a permanent 4-4 front similar to that Virginia Tech runs. The way Michigan aligns apparently does make the deep guy the "strong" safety but since that goes against the popular conception of free and strong, it's confusing.)

Preposterously Early Letter Grade

B-. One blue chip is nice and Carvin Johnson seems like the good kind of sleeper. Would have liked a true deep safety with more than two stars, but one of the cornerbacks could move back once the

Impact This Year?

If Robinson had managed to enroll early, as planned, we'd be anxiously observing him in the hopes he could lock down that box safety spot in spring. Things did not go to plan and we'll be anxiously waiting on his arrival instead. Even so, Robinson's main competition at the position he's slated for consists of a walk-on and a converted wide receiver. I don't think he'll start right away but Michigan isn't going to be able to redshirt him and he may find his way into the lineup by midseason.

Johnson and Vinopal are likely redshirts.

Punter

The Gentlemen Of Leisure

With Zoltan the Inconceivable exiting to a long and lucrative NFL career, Michigan needed a replacement. They took a pass on in-state punter and reputed Michigan fan Mike Sadler, who ended up at State, to chase WI P Will Hagerup, who had offers from all over the country and was the highest-rated punter at Rivals. (He's the #4 K but the specialists in front of him are all placekickers.) After a few visits, Hagerup picked Michigan and its wide open job over Wisconsin, Ohio State, and others.

Preposterously Early Letter Grade

A. Hagerup is either the country's top punter or in the top three to all ranking services.

Impact This Year?

Unless Michigan's offense is so awesome it never punts, Hagerup will be deployed this fall.

All Things Collected And Told

Numbers. That's the most important thing this class brings. Even if there are twice as many sleeper types as you'd like to see in an average Michigan class, getting two guys for every spot on the defense minus a few here and there puts Michigan in a position where the first guy off the bench when a starter gets dinged isn't a walk-on. He'll be a freshman, probably. But you can't recruit juniors.

And it's not all sleeper sorts. Michigan picked up two touted corners with blue chip offers, grabbed a linebacker from Virginia Tech, locked down Marvin Robinson's abs, and grabbed a collection of defensive linemen with considerable upside. It's a below average class, but it's not that far off. And given the context, it's fairly good.

A preposterously early letter grade: B+. For the class as a whole: B.

Wednesday Recruitin'

Wednesday Recruitin'

Submitted by Tim on January 20th, 2010 at 12:06 PM

Recruiting Boards of note:

Davion Rogers, Jake Ryan, and Delonte Hollowell Go Blue

davion.jpgryan.jpg   

Yay, commit-a-palooza! OH LBs Davion Rogers and Jake Ryan are in the current recruiting class, and both are linebackers who :gasp: play linebacker in high school! Rogers is a tall guy who may eventually play defensive end if he can put on the necessary weight. Ryan looks like a true middle linebacker, though he's apparently been told that the coaches are looking at him as a "pass-rushing outside linebacker," which sounds like the Quick position. MGoBlog doesn't buy that since that would make about eight guys in the class destined for one position.

For more on each, check out the "Hello" posts for Rogers and Ryan.

hollowell.jpg

MI CB Delonte Hollowell is a cornerback who hails from Detroit's Cass Tech high school, but won't join the Wolverines until 2011. Small in stature, he has drawn comparisons to former Wolverine Boubacar Cissoko. Delonte is still a long way from campus, but if you want to know more about him, check out the Hello: Delonte Hollowell post.

Happy Trails

  • GA QB/S Blake Sims has recommitted to Alabama. He decommitted from the Tide last week, and had been considering Michigan.
  • CA RB Dillon Baxter reopened his commitment last week, but last night he recommitted to the Trojans on local TV.
  • CA RB Brennan Clay will stick with Oklahoma.
  • NJ OL Jake Kaufman committed to USF. He hadn't been involved in Michigan's recruiting plans for quite some time.
  • FL OL Torrian Wilson committed to Louisville (after decommitting from USF). It doesn't seem like Michigan is going to bust their tails to get him to visit.
  • TX DT Jatashun "Big Tex" Beachum has solidified his verbal commitment to Arkansas, and doesn't appear to be an option anymore.
  • FL DE Clarence Murphy looks like he'll stick with Maryland, as Michigan won't heavily pursue him to land Tony Grimes. For his part FL CB Tony Grimes is still considering Michigan, but looks like a longshot.
  • As expected, GA LB Michael Taylor committed to Florida after switching from Tennessee.
  • MI CB Dior Mathis will play for Oregon.
  • OH S Latwan Anderson is committed to West Virginia.
  • MD S Lorenzo Waters committed to Rutgers.

With the recruiting class almost completely full, it's time for a little cleaning on the board. A bunch of guys who haven't committed elsewhere, or would otherwise still be possibilities, will be removed. That includes:

FL RB Cassius McDowell, DE RB Jamaal Jackson, OH RB Demetrus Johnson, MI OL Jarhaur Jackson, IL OL Andrew Schofield (South Dakota commit), MD DE David Mackall, MI LB Austin Gray (Iowa commit), FL CB TC Robinson, OH S Bobby Swigert (Boston College commit).

Some of those guys don't have many D-1 offers, and are potential preferred walk-on candidates, but the ones committed to BCS programs will definitely stick with those schools.

And it All Means?

dorsey.jpg

With the above guys taken off the board, there are very few bodies left as options for Michigan. Those would be:

  • CA S Sean Parker: He visited USC over the weekend, and will take a final visit to Washington before his decision.
  • FL S Rashad Knight: He told mgoblog's own TomVH that he truly enjoyed his visit, and Tom speculates that the Wolverines are now #1.
  • FL S Demar Dorsey: a cousin of Denard Robinson, rumor has it that Florida is getting frustrated with his wandering eyes, and is considering revocation of his offer. Dorsey is pictured at right.

A few guys, like FL WR De'Joshua Johnson, have mentioned taking visits to Ann Arbor, but it's highly unlikely that anyone else signs with the Wolverines unless another sleeper or two emerges.

[editor-appended bits]

Guru Loves Us, Guru Loves Us Not

Post all-star lists have been published and it's been a long time since I can remember such a difference of opinion between the sites on Michigan's recruits. Devin Gardner got the boot from the Rivals 100 and Cullen Christian dipped to 99; on that site he's Michigan's only top 100 recruit. Gardner sticks at 132 and is the only other Michigan recruit in their top 250. Three others (Ash, Robinson, and Wilkins) get four stars, but that's it. Michigan is 19th in their rankings largely because of class size. To Rivals, this is the worst Michigan recruiting class since people started tracking these things systematically.

Scout, on the other hand, peppers their top 300 with Michigan recruits:

43. Devin Gardner

56. Cullen Christian

98. Josh Furman

155. Austin White

167. Ricardo Miller

201. Marvin Robinson

258. Jerald Robinson

If Sean Parker signs with Michigan he would be a fourth top 100 kid at #81. That's about an average haul for Michigan, and Scout has M in about the range they usually are: Michigan ranks #9 in their rankings right now. They've got a big class and are close to full, so that's a ranking you expect to see drop and grudgingly concede is a bit overrated—team recruiting rankings don't do a good job of accounting for opportunity costs—but after the last two years I'll take a top-ten-ish recruiting class and run.

At MGoBlog, the correct guru is always the one that favors Michigan, so one point for Scout this year.

Side note: at least it's been an off year for Ohio State, too. They've got a small class and a better star average than M at Rivals but are currently 24th(!) in their rankings. Penn State is this year's undisputed Big Ten recruiting champion.

Coner 2000

That is what I am calling new fourth-string QB Conelius Jones. Yes. Yes. AnnArbor.com did a story on the oddly named recruit* that indicates he can't throw worth a lick…

"What I look at when I see him, guys that have come through like Woody Dantzler at Clemson, Pat White," Spartanburg coach Freddie Brown said. "Athletic quarterback, pull it down, run it, throw it guy. He can be a 50-50 (run-pass) guy. A guy that probably runs it a little bit better than he throws it, but Conelius can throw it, too."

…and that he's open to whatever, man:

“I’m a quarterback," Jones said. "But I wouldn’t have any problem with not being” one.

Coner 2000 is about the most guaranteed redshirt in the recruiting class; we'll see how he develops. That Cutcliffe offer from Duke is more appealing than your average Duke offer is, but I bet one dollar he ends up somewhere else.

*(Months after MGoUser Clarence Beeks reported back that this kid apparently didn't have the R in his name that every recruiting site and newspaper said he did, this story makes the same understandable gaffe. I don't blame them at all. "Conelius" cries out for an R. If someone was named Elizaeth no one would ever get their name right, either.)

[/end editor bits]

2011

As noted above, MI CB Delonte Hollowell has become member #2 of the 2011 recruiting class. It's a little too soon to speculate on class composition until after Signing Day, but that's already two DBs following what looks like a very DB-heavy 2010 class.

Potentially adding to that is OH S Ron Tanner, who currently favors Michigan ($, info in header).

Moving along to non-DB news, SC RB Demetrius Williams is now holding an offer from the Wolverines. Despite that, Michigan is a longshot to land him:

“(Growing up) I had three favorite schools,” he said. “I liked (South) Carolina, Clemson and Florida. I really prefer to go to Carolina. If I get an offer from Carolina that is probably where I’m going to go.”

At this point, it looks like a token offer. Bamberg-Ehrhardt has pumped out a bunch of talent in the past few years, and Michigan's coaches may simply be trying to get their foot in the door.

Butler High School outside of Charlotte, NC is perennially stocked with talent, and has a long-standing relationship with Michigan, as the Butler coaches work the Wolverines' summer camps, and guys like Jamar Adams have gone from Butler to Ann Arbor (to the NFL). The class of 2011 appears to be a special one at Butler, with 6 BCS-caliber prospects, including at least two Michigan will try to land:

*Christian LeMay, QB: A national talent of the first order. “I don’t even count his offers anymore,” Newsome said. “He can get one from any school he’s interested in, from Alabama on down.”

*Kris Frost, LB: Another player expected to be recruited on a national scale, he’s received his first written offer, from North Carolina. But he also has a few verbals, including one from Michigan. “He’s always been a Michigan fan; wearing Michigan shorts and T-shirts to practice ever since he started here,” Newsome said. “Any school that wants to beat them will have to work real hard.”

LeMay will be one of the nation's top QBs, and holds a Michigan offer. His dad is the former team chaplain at Florida, however, and he is considered all but a Florida lock. Frost also holds an offer from the Wolverines, so I have added him to the board as well. It certainly sounds like Michigan can land the kid if they go hard after him.

Another linebacker target, OH LB Trey DePriest, hit up Ohio State's junior day over the weekend, instead of heading up to Ann Arbor ($, info in header). He's a very important prospect for Michigan, and hopefully he'll be able to make it to a recruiting event sometime this spring.

Once the class of 2010 is signed (which is shockingly close), I'll start taking a closer look at available scholarships and needs for the 2011 crop.

Hello: Davion Rogers

Hello: Davion Rogers

Submitted by Tim on January 18th, 2010 at 2:51 PM

Yesterday the Wolverines gained a commitment from OH DE/LB Davion Rogers, a teammate of DJ Williamson at Warren G. Harding High School. Yes, that's where Mario Manningham went to high school.

Now it's time to drop the information on you:

davionrogers.jpg

GURU RATINGS

Scout Rivals ESPN
3*, #94 OLB 3*, #26 OLB 3*, 78, #29 OLB

I'm a bit surprised that the recruiting sites list Rogers as an OLB, because it seems to be generally accepted to Michigan fans (and many analysts) that he'll primarily play with his hand down. Rivals's Greg Ladky took in a Harding scrimmage and evaluated Rogers like so:

Rogers is still pretty skinny, but is clearly athletic and very rangy. He showed some agility on a short catch a reaching up the field for a 10-yard gain. He needs to improve against the run and increase his aggressiveness in taking on blockers, but as he fills in his frame, he could be a monster off the edge. He will be fun to watch develop at the college level.

Ladky seems to think he's destined for defensive end as well, and ESPN thinks that, with some weight room work, he could be a special one:

Rogers has the chance to a very special player at the next level because of his natural tools. He has exceptional height for a safety or outside linebacker but could gain some weight and be a dominating rush end on defense. Flows, closes and has very good range for such a tall player.

His coach also talked to the Charleston Daily Mail back when he was a West Virginia commit, and gave glowing reviews (H/T UMGoBlog):

"He'll run down things from behind," Harding Coach D.J. Dota said. "If it's run at him, he pretty much destroys it. He's probably our best defensive player and our defense is pretty good. He's just been all over the field. He has that knack to find the football. We've asked him to do a bunch of different things this year and he's done a great job understanding what he needs to do for us,'' Dota said. "He's made a lot of great plays for us.

"He's a great blitzer off the edge. Really, anything you ask him to do he does really well because of his athletic ability, which is really shocking because of his height. He plays really fast."

Dota said once Rogers fills out his frame in the weight room, the sky is the limit.

"I think he can play at the next level - the NFL,the Harding coach said. "I think his game will only improve. His game has improved some much in a year. The mental knowledge, he understands what's going on around him."

The Destruction of All Runs is a trait that the unbiased sources don't attribute to him, so at the very least, that part may be his coach blowing hot air. HIs versatility and athletic ability, on the other hand, are apparent to seemingly everyone. From the same article, Rogers describes his own game:

"I've got the feet of a safety, I hit like a linebacker and the size of a defensive end," said Rogers in summing up his talents. "I get to the ball. No matter what I'm going to get to the ball. I'm determined to get to that ball.

Those positive reviews, are mostly backed up by third-party evaluators. It seems as though his largest upside is at defensive end (or maybe hybrid OLB/DE), but for what it's worth when Rogers committed to West Virginia they planned on playing him somewhere in the back seven, maybe even in the secondary(!):

Despite being as tall as the average defensive lineman, the coaches at West Virginia have narrowed their options to put Rogers at linebacker, or possibly in the secondary with Dorsey.

"They like me at linebacker, but they might look into playing me as a strong safety," Rogers said. "I'll do whatever they ask me to do. I just want to be able represent myself the best way that I can. I'm looking forward to any opportunity that they give me to play. I'm very excited."

The main reason for his low rankings despite the potential is the fact that he's a tweener right now. He weighs as much as a safety but projects as a defensive end or outside linebacker, which means he won't contribute right away.

He is reminiscent of Shawn Crable, though he might [ed: must] have thicker legs and is starting out of high school at much lower weight (205 or less against Crable's 230ish). Buckeye Planet has a Harding insider named "Worm02" who cites Crable in his assessment of Rogers' talent:

Last year was Rogers' first year playing varsity and the only thing that he played was OLB. Obviously, when you're dealing with a kid that tall, you can imagine him playing DE at the next level, so there are a lot of possibilities, but I could see Rogers' current frame being suitable for OLB. At this point, I won't say that he is better than Shawn Crable was in HS (that dude was a BEAST at Massillon!), but that's another tall guy who played OLB in college. Then again, Lamarr Woodley was a LB in high school who bulked up and moved down to DE in college, and he wasn't nearly as tall. That's a big dude though (he came to Warren with Prescott Burgess a couple times). Speaking of Burgess, he was a standout at SS in HS who played OLB in college and does so now for the Baltimore Ravens, and he was 6'4 at Harding. Davion is 6'6, but Burgess had a much bigger frame.

Though all three recruiting services give him three stars, Scout is the outlier in terms of ranking, as both other sites have him in the top 30 OLBs, on the cusp of four stars. Rivals has him one slot above OLB/DE tweener, almost-commit, and future Seminole Holmes Onwukaife, FWIW, so any complaints about that recruitment have been effectively mooted.

OFFERS

Rogers had a very early offer from Michigan State and then got one from West Virginia that he immediately snapped up. As such, information on who has been recruiting Rogers is sparse. Articles about committed recruits don't really talk about other offers until that recruit is soft, and Rogers has only been soft for a couple weeks.

He also received interest from regional non-BCS teams, including offers from Ohio University, and Toledo. Pittsburgh showed him interest, but never offered.

STATS

From the same article as above, Rogers accrued the following stats through 8 games:

Rogers, who has earned a three-star rating (out of five) from Scout.com, has 55 tackles, seven sacks, two interceptions, a forced fumble and fumble recovery for a touchdown this season for Warren G. Harding (5-3).

HOWEVA, Harding was never 5-3 on the year, as they tied their first game against East Cleveland Shaw, and finished the year before that article, with a record of 6-3-1 in 10 games. Take those stats as a rough approximation of his production this year.

FAKE 40 TIME

Rivals lists his 40 time as 4.6, and that's the only source I can find a reported time. For a future defensive end, that's pretty low, but as a guy who sounds like he could play safety if he wasn't so tall, it's not so ridiculous. I'll split the difference, and give it just two FAKEs out of five.

VIDEO

Rogers, like most Ohio prospects, has video available from ScoutingOhio:

PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE

Rogers has a lot of athletic potential but is not college-ready at this point. He has a lot of physical maturing to do. Even if he is to stay at linebacker, he needs to add 25 to 40 pounds. More likely, he'll be a pass-rushing DE, probably from the quick position, a la Craig Roh. That would require even more weight being added, but fortunately—and unlike Roh—he's not being called upon to contribute right away.

Rogers will definitely redshirt. In that year he'll hopefully be able to add tons and tons of muscle, possibly getting into the 230-pound range. As a redshirt freshman, he will probably contribute on some special teams, perhaps as the Brandon Graham-style Designated Punt Blocker. Unless more defensive ends emerge, he may be called upon for spot duty in pass-rush situations as well.

As a redshirt sophomore, he'll back up a senior Craig Roh, or even grow enough (remember, he's 6-6 and only 200 pounds) to move to the strongside defensive end position, where he would be a backup as well. As a redshirt junior and senior, he should be a full-time starter.

Given his coach's (and the scouts') evaluations of his talent, he could develop into an NFL player, so All-Conference distinctions when he reaches a starting role are not out of the question.

[Editor's note:  I wouldn't put it past Rogers to stay at linebacker for a bit given the composition of the roster. Shawn Crable was an enormous chicken-legged linebacker for most of his time at Michigan and only moved down to defensive end permanently as a senior. Rogers seems like a good fit at the weakside linebacker spot currently occupied by Jonas Mouton, and that spot will be open when Rogers is presumably coming off his redshirt year. Long term, though, Shawn Crable was the world's most perfect fit for the deathbacker spot and this guy is Shawn Crable 2.0.]

UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS

Rogers is technically commitment #25 for the class, but is more likely #24 given the likelihood that Tony Drake does not end up in Ann Arbor. OH LB Jake Ryan just committed and is #25.  Rich Rodriguez said yesterday that they will be able to enroll 26 players in the fall, so that leaves one more slot assuming there's no further attrition from the recruiting class.

With a true pass-rusher (finally) in the fold, safety is most pressing concern. Sean Parker, Rashad Knight, and maybe even Demar Dorsey (who visited over the weekend) are the possibilities. Another possibility: Michigan could grab both Parker and Knight if there is a decommit or someone does not look likely to qualify.

EDITOR-APPENDED BIT AT THE END THAT ISN'T IRONIC BUT IS THE SORT OF THING YOU WANT TO CALL IRONIC DESPITE ITS LACK OF IRONY

Rogers grew up a huge Ohio State fan to the point where the first article on him from Bucknuts was summarized like so by Buckeye Planet:

Davion says that although he is friends with Mario Manningham and grew up next to Prescott Burgess, he is not at all interested in Michigan...only tOSU.

Things change.