Jimmystats: July 2019 Recruiting Deltas

Jimmystats: July 2019 Recruiting Deltas Comment Count

Seth July 13th, 2018 at 11:17 AM

Let's stare at stars [Patrick Barron]

Starting last year I began keeping track on the changes in recruiting rankings, since movement tends to tell us things about a recruit that their ratings at any given moment do not.

I was putting this together a month ago actually, but then half of the high schoolers in America committed to Michigan and this post was left in the bin. Since we have a bunch of new recruits and 247 just updated their rankings yesterday based on their scouting from various summer camps, it's a good time to check in. Anyway that's why there's the weirdness of June 15 rankings on everybody committed by then—I figured you'd prefer I leave those in.

Things to keep in mind:

  1. Recruiting gravity means rankings will slowly drop as more players are scouted and slotted ahead of them. Going from the #209 to #225 player in a month isn't a drop unless his rating dropped too.
  2. I didn't get around to taking snapshots of Rivals and ESPN in late May, and only got the new commits' data when they dropped. As this series continues we'll have more complete data.
  3. By now I imagine you're familiar with the three sites' rating systems but just in case: For 247 the 80-89 range are 3-stars, the 90-97 range are the 4-stars, and 98+ are 5-stars. ESPN is on a 100 scale, so 70s are 3-stars, 80s are 4-stars, 90s are 5-stars. Rivals uses the old National Recruiting Advisor system: 5.5 to 5.7 are 3-stars, 5.8 to 6.0 are 4-stars, and 6.1 is a 5-star. The 247 composite can be read like you put a "%" next to their regular ratings, so .9000 is the cut-off for a 4-star instead of 90.

QB Cade McNamara

Service March 17 (committed) June 15 Today
247Sports 90, #305 Ovr, #9 PRO 90, #310 Ovr, #10 PRO 90, #321 Ovr, #10 PRO
Rivals 5.8, NR, #9 Pro 5.8, NR, #9 Pro 5.8, NR, #10 Pro
ESPN 78, #296 Ovr, #8 Pro, #45 West 78, #296 Ovr, #8 PRO, #45 West 81, #240 Ovr, #14 Pro, #36 West
Composite 0.9004, #316 Ovr, #9 PRO 0.9067, #263 Ovr, #10 PRO 0.9067, #269 Ovr, #10 PRO

Michigan's (first?) quarterback of the class is climbing steadily, and got bumped to a strong 4-star when ESPN solidified their Top 300, which means he survived a bunch of other recently scouted quarterbacks moving up. On the other hand they slid a good six other quarterbacks ahead of him, including BC-bound Sam Johnson from Walled Lake Western.

McNamara's been participating in whatever the new format of the Elite 11 is, and his performance so far has crystallized the opinion of him as a four-star but still just outside everyone's Top 250.

His reported weight is up too. He's now 206 (247) or 202 (Rivals) or 203 (ESPN) lbs, up from 179.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the class]


Jimmystats: A Racket of Running Backs

Jimmystats: A Racket of Running Backs Comment Count

Seth May 25th, 2018 at 12:00 PM


[Paul Sherman]

Earlier this week Ace ran into an article on the Saquon Barkley pick and why, despite sabr-conventional wisdom, it might not have been such a bad idea after all. The article is Michigan-relevant for two reasons. One because he brings up the play where Barkley got manned up as a slot receiver on McCray and smoked him for the 4th quarter touchdown that officially made it a rout. Since that’s already seared into your memory and most everyone involved is now well out of Michigan’s sphere you don’t have to relive that part.

The second reason is because Michigan is stockpiling running backs again. At first blush you might dismiss that as an emphasis on running the football, but…

In 2017, according to Sharp’s data, the Patriots used “11” personnel on just 44 percent of their plays—tied for the fourth-fewest total in the league. New England’s second most-common personnel grouping? “21,” or two running backs, one tight end, and two wideouts, which the Pats used on 24 percent of their plays, second only to the 49ers’ 28 percent. Per Sharp, the Pats’ success rate out of “11” personnel was 47 percent. Out of “21” personnel, it was 60 percent.

…it also might be a sign that Harbaugh is staying at the head of the curve in the latest countermove of offensive progression.


The data say yes. Michigan returned five running backs this season and brought in three freshman. Next year they graduate one (Higdon), and are still in full pursuit of multiple targets, and not in the “we just need one of you” kind of way.


Nine running backs is over 10 percent of your scholarships. That is indeed a major investment. And when you look over Michigan’s history such an emphasis is indeed out of whack with the needs of Harbaugh’s modern predecessors. I was on the Daily when they peaked at seven in 2000 because they didn’t think they’d get both Chris Perry and Reggie Benton (and Carr held up his promise to Tim Bracken). And then it just turned out they had known, though didn’t say, that Justin Fargas and Ryan Beard weren’t going to be around for 2001; proving the anomaly, in two seasons they were down to just four.

The other example is Rich Rod’s first two years, though that includes Kevin Grady who moved to fullback. Still: Brandon Minor, Carlos Brown, Mike Cox, Teric Jones, Michael Shaw, Vincent Smith, and Fitz Toussaint were all on a roster together. We’ll come back to that one.

[After THE JUMP: Why all the backs?]


Jimmystats: Projecting Patterson and Peters

Jimmystats: Projecting Patterson and Peters Comment Count

Seth April 25th, 2018 at 12:27 PM


How up is up? [Bryan Fuller/Patrick Barron]

In the last spring football bits, and then in the podcast, I mentioned that I’d pulled the sophomore/redshirt freshman stats of a couple decades of quarterbacks we know in order to put our two 2016 signal-callers’ 2017s in perspective. I figure I should show that work.

I was trying to answer two questions: where did Peters/Patterson rank among other QBs their age, and what’s a standard progression for a guy who started his second year upon entering his third?

1. Shea and Brandon vs Other 2nd year QBs

Bless Foxsports.com for keeping sack stats with quarterbacks. I wish I’d taken rushing stats too but alas I only grabbed the passing stuff.

There’s going to be a lot of noise in here so a few things as you peruse:

  1. Some of the weirder results were low sample sizes. I only counted 100 or more attempts, so like Tate Forcier 2010 didn’t make the cut and Peters just did barely. Still I shaded in red a few to beware.
  2. I have them ranked by “Efficiency Percentile,” a junk stat I made up that’s 49% sack-adjusted yards per attempt, 23% each touchdown and interception rate, and 5% completion rating, normalized as a percentile among all the QB seasons (about 500 of them) I grabbed. The QBs are Big Ten mostly plus ND and Stanford guys Harbaugh coached. Kenpom Christmas colors apply: green is good, red is bad.
  3. I also showed completion %, sack rate, and college quarterback ratings, though they’re not included in the rankings.

The Kizer comp for Patterson is pretty close—I’m hesitant to give him Russell Wilson because Wilson had an extremely low interception rate, a trait which seems to presage NFL success. Shea…does not. The good news is the sack rate is correlated with so many things it’s impossible to say if Shea’s higher than normal rate of going down behind the line was indicative of anything. Sometimes it’s just a bad OL.

It was very possible for two QBs on the same team to have dramatically different sack rates. But the stat doesn’t give the reason. Sometimes that really was about poise:


Sometimes however it’s about which part of the schedule you got:


And sometimes it’s completely counter-intuitive:


Other than Denard most running QBs had high sack rates like Shea’s. I can’t tell you why—maybe those guys try escaping instead of throwing it away when under pressure, or maybe being part of the run game gets them sacked because of play-action. The highest sack rating I tracked was Braxton Miller in 2011. Two of the top four are notoriously stoic T.J. Ostrander seasons, and two more in the  top ten are 2007 Notre Dame (bad OL). It’s too much to unpack.

[Hit THE JUMP for the Peters projection]


Jimmystats: The 2018 Class in Context, Part II: Defense

Jimmystats: The 2018 Class in Context, Part II: Defense Comment Count

Seth March 2nd, 2018 at 10:22 AM


Very different types of 3-stars [Eric Upchurch, 2013]

This is take two (take one got deleted) of Part II of my attempt to put the recruiting rankings of this year’s commits in context within the ~500 previous Michigan commits we have Part I: The Offense lives here.

Since the last one I’ve been dealing with a health thing. In fact I’m writing this from the hospital, where they’ve had me holed up since last Friday. Between tests, consultations, vitals, and literally almost 100 needle pokes into my vascular system, I’ve had time to complete a substantial update to my roster database, which now goes all the way back to Gary Moeller’s first year, plus some long overdue tweaks to how I value position and regional rankings.*

I’ve also been playing around with interactive charts on Tableau:


Click to get to the chart since I can’t figure out how to get embedding to work yet. I’m new at these so bear with me as I learn.

* [Methodology for stat nerds: I averaged the 247 composites of each rank for each position, then plotted it on a graph and used the logarithmic formula]




Young Wormley was 70 percent potential, 30 percent hair [Upchurch/Bryan Fuller]

After Michigan loaded up with linemen last year and secured two one of the top DEs for 2019, they could afford to get picky in 2018. They still got one potentially immediate contributor and two excellent choices for sleepers of the class. Aiden Hutchinson got a late ratings bump from the sites which pushed him up from a near-perfect Ryan Van Bergen comp to “not just a four star” range.


The only relatively recent guy Michigan captured in this range was Craig Roh, but if Rivals hadn’t been so contrarian with Wormley I think that would be your closest comp. 247 was the highest on Wormley and came out about the same on Hutchinson’s kid. He’s supposed to be coming in to play defense but if you want to project him at guard, well, here’s the closest comp:


We have to scroll down to the mid 3-stars for Taylor Upshaw and Julius Welschof:


Note that’s not “generic three star” like Greg Brooks/Rondell Biggs, but neither is it “just missed a fourth star” like Carlo Kemp and Jibreel Black. As I said, I love the potential with both of these guys. Upshaw is the son of an NFL player who didn’t start playing football until recently. Welschof is a German athletic freak and mogul skiier who gathered a lot of interest from the big-time schools he camped at. The recruiters were always playing catch-up there too. Rivals didn’t take to Welschof—otherwise the sites placed them in the same range as some other position-switchers or needs-to-gain-weight types with high ceilings to unwrap in a few years.

Defensive end is a position where the talent apparent in high school translates more directly to an NFL career:


(and that’s totally the reason I showed this)

Fortunately for our hopes here the only guy from the three-star bin considered an athlete on the level of Upshaw and Welschof was Shelton Johnson, and his career crumbled for off-field reasons.

[After THE JUMP: used to be better before I had to rewrite all of it]



Jimmystats: The 2018 Class in Context, Part 1: Offense

Jimmystats: The 2018 Class in Context, Part 1: Offense Comment Count

Seth February 8th, 2018 at 12:04 PM


It’s tough to see what they’ll become [UM Bentley Library]

So yesterday came and went the way it went. The SEC cheats, Michigan’s a tougher sell right now for reasons, yada yada—those who choose to rend garments or yell at the folks wearing tatters have plenty of threads to do so in. Let’s talk about the guys Michigan got.

As it so happens I keep a database of Michigan recruits that goes back to the 1993 class, and that gives us a chance to put all the new guys in context. Shall we?


Shea Patterson is a transfer but let’s start with him for we can have nice things reasons. Also because he was one of the highest-rated quarterbacks out of high school to ever come here:


Shea in 2016 was the #1 Dual Threat or #1 QB to everybody, and between third and 15th overall. Quarterbacks ranked in the Top 5 overall tend to have some real talent—nobody doubts Mallett’s arm. A year of starting in the SEC should put Shea in good shape to challenge for the top job this season, provided the NCAA waives the transfer year. Yay for five-star quarterbacks!

Joe Milton comes in as a project, though one with significant upside. That kind of player usually creates a large amount of disagreement among the recruiting sites and it would appear that’s the case with Joe:


ESPN rated him the highest, which is a bit of a red flag since they tend to fire and forget. Scout had him one of their highest three-stars (before they merged with 247) and Rivals had him a solid 4-star. 247 was down relative to the others. The result is somewhere between Dylan McCaffrey (4.31 average star rating) and Alex Malzone, and closer to the latter. His late fall on 247 dropped him to 16th in the composite score. Some guys you’ve probably heard of who’ve fallen around that range in past years include Maryland’s Kasim Hill (2017), Northwestern’s Clayton Thorson, Wisconsin’s Bart Houston, ND’s Everett Golson, and Messiah deWeaver, Brian Lewerke, and Andrew Maxwell of MSU.

I also tried to find a Harbaugh comp and came up with 2009 Stanford recruit Josh Nunes. Like Milton, Nunes put up big high school stats with a low completion percentage. He wasn’t much of a runner. From my Hall of Harbaugh Quarterbacks piece from a few years ago:

Josh Nunes, the 9th pro-style QB and 139th overall player according to the 247 composite. Nunes was a prolific passer in high school (6,306 yards and 52 TDs in 34 starts) who on Harbaugh’s recommendation added running (3.1 YPA with sacks included) to his reads as a senior. Nunes was heir apparent to Andrew Luck but lost his job to Kevin Hogan while out with a foot injury in 2012, and lost his career to a freak pectoral injury in 2013.

Also the greatest QB of all time was rated around this spot in 1995, but that was 1995.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the offense]


Jimmystats: Shifts in 2018 Recruiting Rankings

Jimmystats: Shifts in 2018 Recruiting Rankings Comment Count

Seth January 25th, 2018 at 4:12 PM


Things were lookin’ up for McKeon last year. Is that a thing? [Upchurch]

One of the things I’d like to start tracking better in recruiting data are deltas: how much each player’s crootin numbers move over the course of his recruitment. I’ve been updating my spreadsheets a bunch the last few weeks as the sites put out their final rankings, and I fortuitously backed up the data on New Year’s Day so I have a decent snapshot right now of how much the rankings moved from the end of the season to when the services redid their final rankings for this week.

Unfortunately this doesn’t include the two guys who committed last week, since I grabbed their ratings only when those announcements hit. Wanna see?


Player Pos Stars RR Nat Rk Pos Rk ☆/5
Otis Reese OLB ☆☆☆☆ 5.9—>6.0 42—>56 2 4.76
Aidan Hutchinson WDE—>SDE ☆☆☆☆ 5.8—>5.9 NR—>129 17—>8 4.58
Myles Sims CB ☆☆☆☆ 5.9 79—>103 9—>14 4.49
Jaylen Mayfield OT 3—>4 5.6—>5.8 NR 31-->17 4.25
Cameron McGrone OLB ☆☆☆☆ 5.8 238—>195 19—>16 4.14
Joe Milton DUAL ☆☆☆☆ 5.9—>5.8 189—>200 11 4.04
Mustapha Muhammad TE ☆☆☆☆ 5.8 NR 16—>17 4.02
Gemon Green CB ☆☆☆☆ 5.8 NR 37—>39 3.91
Christian Turner RB ☆☆☆ 5.7 NR 18 3.90
Taylor Upshaw SDE ☆☆☆ 5.7 NR 24—>25 3.85
Ben VanSumeren ATH ☆☆☆ 5.7 NR 37—>34 3.81
Vincent Gray CB ☆☆☆ 5.7 NR 56—>60 3.70
Sammy Faustin CB ☆☆☆ 5.7 NR 58—>62 3.69
Ryan Hayes OT ☆☆☆ 5.6 NR 47 3.62
Kevin Doyle PRO ☆☆☆ 5.6 NR 24 3.60
Hassan Haskins RB ☆☆☆ 5.6 NR 41 3.60
Luke Schoonmaker TE ☆☆☆ 5.6 NR 36 3.52
Michael Barrett ATH ☆☆☆ 5.6 NR NR 3.35
Julius Welschof SDE ☆☆☆ 5.5 NR NR 3.00
German Green S ☆☆☆ 5.5 NR NR 3.00
Ronnie Bell WR ☆☆ 5.4 NR NR 2.95

First a few words on what we’re looking at and how to react to things. The “☆/5” is my own conversion of the ratings and position rankings the sites provide so I can judge them all against each other. It’s imperfect.

Don’t pay attention to small changes in rankings, and the further down they start the larger delta you need to discount. That’s an effect of other guys shooting up the rankings and pushing everybody below them down a bit, not a new opinion on our guy. This is normal and happens every year. You’ll note Rivals didn’t make a lot of changes among their three-stars but fiddles with the guys in the top of the rankings a lot, part of a larger tendency to focus on the headline-grabbers.

Rivals, like the other services, starts stingier with their 4- and 5-star ratings to leave room for the inevitable risers. You can prove this yourself: go on the Rivals database and count how many guys in the 2019 class have a 6.1 (five stars) or 6.0 (highest four-stars). It’s 12 and 35—half as many as any year prior. Rest assured that’ll be more like 25-30 in the 6.1 range and 70-80 who get 6.0s by this time next year. That’s how Otis Reese jumped to a 6.0 while slipping 14 spots in the national rankings—what that means is he didn’t move while data on other guys filled in around him.

[Hit THE JUMP to see where everyone moved]


Jimmystats: Rostering 2018

Jimmystats: Rostering 2018 Comment Count

Seth January 22nd, 2018 at 2:00 PM

We’re off the shores of offseason and wading toward the Signing Day drop-off, and 247 recently released their final 2018 rankings, so I thought now would be a good time to update my big, useful roster database.

apologies for giving Rutgers a competitive advantage

It can tell you fun things, like how this year’s recruiting class stacks up against previous ones:


(it’s like the 2014 one, ratings-wise)

…or the NFL outcome of Michigan recruits by their relative star ratings:

As Recruit Players Rnds 1-3 Rnds 4-7 UDFA+ UDFA No NFL
☆☆☆☆☆ 17 9 (53%) 2 (12%) 1 (6%) 2 (12%) 3 (18%)
☆☆☆☆½ 64 9 (14%) 12 (19%) 3 (5%) 9 (14%) 31 (48%)
☆☆☆☆ 110 17 (15%) 16 (15%) - 1 (1%) 76 (69%)
☆☆☆½ 85 2 (2%) 7 (8%) - 1 (1%) 75 (88%)
☆☆☆ 113 4 (4%) 7 (6%) 1 (1%) - 101 (89%)
☆☆ 14 - - 1 (7%) - 13 (93%)
Walk-on 26 1 (4%) 1 (4%) - - 24 (92%)

Or how attrition is going:


(it has stayed relatively low compared to Rodriguez and Carr)


(few players are leaving without degrees)

If you download and play around a bit you can quickly find things like which players each recruiting service adored/didn’t think much of relative to each other:

Rivals Scout ESPN 247


Steve Breaston Paul Sarantos Marques Walton Benjamin St-Juste
Conelius Jones Austin White Rueben Riley Cameron McGrone
Kevin Koger Andrew Stueber Junior Hemingway Nate Johnson
Jeremy Gallon De'Veon Smith Ja'Raymond Hall Oliver Martin
Alex Mitchell Patrick Omameh Isaiah Bell Jaylen Mayfield


Ja'Raymond Hall Kingston Davis Kevin Koger Austin White
Andrew Stueber Alex Mitchell Brandon Smith Conelius Jones
Brandon Watson Keith Washington Dennis Norfleet Brad Robbins
Paul Sarantos Gabe Watson Boubacar Cissoko Myles Sims
Ronnie Bell Reuben Jones Rocko Khoury Zach Gentry


Direct Recruiting Comparisons

There’s also a second table that shows all of the recruiting data that went into my composite rankings, if you want to quickly compare where the sites put Luke Schoonmaker to Sean McKeon (they’re nearly identical):


…or place Cam McGrone among Michigan’s all-time linebacker recruits:


…or settle an argument with the guy who said Mike Hart was “just a three-star”:


(he was only barely)

…or just pull up a quick list of who’s eligible for this year’s NFL draft. I mostly use it to put the new recruits in context. Like it’s good to know Christian Turner is basically tied with Chris Evans, that Aidan Hutchinson ended up almost exactly where Ryan Van Bergen was rated, and that Jarrod Wilson and Gemon Green wound up right where Benjamin St-Juste did (German Green is down in the JT Floyd/Courtney Avery/James Rogers region). Seeing a handful of former players whose careers (and ceilings) I’m familiar with is more helpful to placing a croot than where he stands among the thousands of high schoolers of his own year whom I haven’t seen.


Starter Data

Lastly I updated the starter data with 2017 starts, which by the way featured a lot of stuff like three tight ends or three fullbacks. Those atypical start formations are more helpful than hurtful—it’s accurate to say that Gentry and McKeon were more active in the passing game, for example, than Eddie McDoom or Nate Schoenle.

You may remember last year was a crazy low bar for starts returning. Things are getting back to normal. Rather than a historically green team Michigan will have a slightly below averagely experienced team:


The big difference you can’t see here is the distribution of OL starts: last year almost all of the returning OL experience was concentrated in one guy; this year it’s spread out among six dudes: Bredeson, Ruiz, Onwenu, JBB, Ulizio, and Runyan.

The last bit highlights a flaw in reading returning starts without context: there aren’t many years in trackable Michigan history in which any of those guys would have gotten extensive playing time. It also hides regular contributors who didn’t technically start—2016 Maurice Hurst being the case example.

Digging down to game-by-game start data gives us a clearer, albeit imperfect, sample of what was on the field. And last year—to the surprise of nobody—it was historically young.


Let’s put those bars in context: the average starter for Michigan last year on both units was younger than a redshirt sophomore. Only twice in the last 20 years did any one unit dip below that mark: the 2008 offense, and the 2009 defense. I’m sure I don’t have to remind you how that went.

The bad news here is the offense at least is in for another year of historical youngness, quite likely falling below even this year. I plugged the following projection of 2018 starts: Patterson (13), Evans (6), Higdon (7), Mason (8), McKeon (11), Wheatley (2), Gentry (7), Eubanks (1), Black (10), DPJ (8), Crawford (1), and an OL of Newsome-Bredeson-Ruiz-Onwenu-Hudson, and it came out at an average year in program of 2.67, barely above 2008.

Does it matter? With the exception of 1997, the peak years do seem to correlate to the teams playing the guys who’ve been around awhile: 1999, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2011, 2012, and 2016. On the other hand Ohio State managed to put up a strong offense in 2016 despite a similarly young roster, though it should be noted they were operating under an experience QB and the young players were holes that got exploited by better teams.

(I never know what to do here with transfers who’ve started at previous stops. Considering the performance of said transfers when they have played, the most accurate thing to do is to just throw that data out—after all they’re new to the system.)

The other interesting thing I can do with starter data is to check personnel shifts. In the past I used it to show the relative mass on the field between coaches. But the Harbaughification of the offense is clear in other ways, like starting more tight ends:

AVG Skill Position Personnel at First Snap
Season(s) RBs FBs TEs WRs
Carr 0.99 0.62 1.27 2.11
Rodriguez 1.22 0.14 0.78 2.86
Hoke 0.98 0.45 1.12 2.45
2015 1.02 0.94 1.09 1.95
2016 1.00 0.69 1.77 1.54
2017 0.92 0.77 1.92 1.38


Anyway if you want to download your own copy of my data and play with it, you’re welcome to it. Just share your findings in the diaries.


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.


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.]


Rostering 2017

Rostering 2017 Comment Count

Seth January 4th, 2017 at 4:05 PM

By timeless tradition, going all the way back to the very first post-Harbaugh offseason at Michigan, our people recount the story of Jake Rudock’s exodus from Iowa, update the Grand Google Sheet, and see what it can tell us about this year and the future.

Whereas, at the end of the 2014 Iowa football season Kirk Ferentz released an unprecedented post-bowl depth chart just for the sake of putting C.J. Beathard in front of most-of-the-time starter Jake Rudock. This accomplished several things: Beathard’s dad, who’d put some transfer noise in a local Tennessee paper, was placated, and the People of Rudock took the hint to grad transfer the hell out of Egypt. After wandering in the desert, the spiritual, spiritually 40-year-old Rudock was chosen by Harbaugh to lead the people of Ann Arbor to the promised land Citrus Bowl.

In honor of the old Pharaoh’s great dick move, I present this year’s post-bowl Foe Film diagram, now with 100% more mustache.


[Click to biggen make]

I’ve also updated the great spreadsheet of players going back to the class of 1993, with all that recruiting and attrition and start data.

Use as you like—I’ll keep it updated as the offseason progresses so you can use it for diaries or fact-finding.

[Hit THE JUMP for a chart party.]