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]


Unverified Voracity Says Throw-God, No

Unverified Voracity Says Throw-God, No Comment Count

Brian May 1st, 2018 at 12:29 PM

Recruiting rankings matter, and also have a systemic bias. NFL players versus blue chip recruits, mapped:


Blue states have more NFL players than blue chip recruits; red states have fewer. That's part of a thorough Football Study Hall article on recruiting rankings and the draft, and is about as conclusive as possible that the recruiting industry is systematically underrating the Midwest and overrating the south. The south does have more players—only an idiot would dispute that—but the gap isn't as big as the rankings suggest.

UPDATE: Related event:

Barkley was not composite top 100.

"I'm in Paris, better justify my existence." Kyle Rowland of the Blade unearths a cool Michigan story:


PARIS — Less than 10 miles from the Michigan football team’s palatial hotel in the heart of Paris sits Stade Olympique de Colombes, the host of the 1924 Olympic Games.

The old stadium, now 111 years old, is rickety and considerably smaller than its heyday when it entertained the world’s best athletes. Inside the concrete walls, DeHart Hubbard, one of the University of Michigan’s greatest sportsmen, became the first African-American to win an Olympic gold medal in an individual event, with a leap of 24 feet, 5 inches in the long jump on his sixth and final jump with a bruised heel.

“When I was a student, I came in 1976, and I looked at the school records because I was a long jumper, and that’s when I found out the first notion of who he was,” said James Henry, now the co-head coach of the UM women’s track and field team. “Then I found out he was the first African-American Olympic gold medalist. I was enthralled by him. He was my role model.

“He was at the University of Michigan at a time in which blacks couldn't do very much anywhere. I just felt that if this man can make it, I can make it. Making a name for myself by beating his records meant everything to me. That was my drive as a student-athlete to participate at a high level.”

Much more at the link. Now Rowland can file that expense report with a clear conscience.

Paging Mitch Leidner to the Department of Inexplicably Overrated Big Ten Quarterbacks. One mock draft was a hilarious oversight by an overworked intern. Two was worrisome. But now that it appears the NFL draft people are unanimous in asserting this person is a first round pick

    The Pick: Clayton Thorson, QB, Northwestern

    The New York Giants passed on the chance to draft a quarterback of the future with the No. 2 pick in the 2018 draft, but is that a decision they'll regret? Or will fourth-rounder Kyle Lauletta be the answer?

    If after a season of watching Lauletta and 2017 third-rounder Davis Webb, the Giants feel like the long-term answer at starter isn't on the roster, the team could be in good shape to draft a quarterback in 2019. Northwestern's Clayton Thorson nearly declared for this year's draft before surveying the deep group of passers and deciding to return to school. He has the arm, accuracy and intangibles to be considered a first-rounder one year from now.

…it's time to lay very still and sweat profusely, hoping this is a crazy dream.

Clayton Thorson! Sir, I have seen an unstoppable throw-god in purple. You, sir, are no Trevor Siemian. Thorson averaged 6.6 YPA with a 15-12 TD-INT ratio last year. But he's 6'4" and superficially looks like an NFL quarterback, so on the list he goes.

Making this take even nuttier: Thorson tore his ACL in the bowl game and is questionable for the upcoming season.

Meanwhile, Michigan prospects for 2019. Only two Wolverines show up on Athlon's top 50: #2 Rashan Gary and #22 Shea Patterson. Zach Shaw rounded up all the Way Too Early Mock Drafts and those two are the only guys on any of them. This is odd to me since Michigan's cornerback duo was probably the best in the country, at least in terms of passer rating allowed. You'd think one of the two would be a consideration for the end of the first round.

A flip. A development in the slightly less important FBI investigation:

The director of an amateur Massachusetts basketball team affiliated with Adidas AG agreed to plead guilty and cooperate with prosecutors investigating an NCAA bribery scandal, according to a copy of the agreement made public Friday.

Thomas "T.J." Gassnola entered the plea on March 30 to federal charges that he made payments to families of high school student-athletes in exchange for their commitment to play for certain universities, according to the filing.

NC State seems to be the main school linked with Gassnola, but, uh… Notre Dame(!) is an Adidas[correction: they switched to UA] school that just picked up two players from Gassnola's AAU team. I will give the FBI one dollar if they sweep the Irish into this. Think of the ND Nation takes.

Wilde take. Quinn Hughes is #5 on this NHL mock draft. Bode Wilde is #17:

17. New Jersey Devils: Bode Wilde, D, U.S. U18 (NTDP)

There are few prospects in this draft who can provide GMs with a skill set as tantalizing as Wilde’s. The big, mobile defender was a minute muncher for a deep NTDP blue line and his explosive first step is drool inducing. You don’t find many 6-2 defensemen with dynamic speed and a blistering shot, which is why GM Ray Shero should add this thoroughbred to his already-dangerous Devils’ attack

He'll be an acid test for the new staff's ability to mold guys, because he's a boom or bust guy on the NHL level because of his tendency to get out of position and cede odd man rushes.

FWIW, Hughes is the only draft-eligible and only college player on this year's IIHF World Championship team.

Etc.: John Infante on the NCAA resurrecting the transfer waiver, which may have been relevant for Patterson. WCBN profiles Hughes. The era in which Orson launches entirely warranted bombs at a Michigan assistant coach is going to be brutal. Wagner and Matthews invited to the draft combine.


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: 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]


This Week’s Obsession: We Scouted Bad

This Week’s Obsession: We Scouted Bad Comment Count

Seth June 23rd, 2017 at 10:56 AM

The question:

Most humiliatingly bad recruiting ranking

The resposes:

Brian: Chris Wormley and Trey Burke spring to mind.

Ace: Can first-hand agree on Wormley. I don’t know how anyone could see that guy in person and not think he at least had a good shot at the NFL.

Brian: We've talked about Wormley before. Everyone saw a huge athletic man and ranked appropriately except Josh Helmholdt. He was the #22 player... IN OHIO.

Ace: That dude was built like a house as a senior and it was clear he could add another house.

Seth: Poor Helmholdt. We've probably hung that over his head more than any one ranking by anyone in history.

Brian: He's got a few more in the pipeline if he doesn't drag Mayfield and Hayes into the top 15 in state. But this is a key factor in ridiculous rankings: you miss when everyone else is on point. Sure, nobody saw a draftable CB in Jeremy Clark but I can't blame 'em for that.

Seth: So no Kevin Grady, even though Tom Lemming made him his #7 player in the country.

In. The. Country.

Brian: A key factor, not the. You can fire away on that ranking. By Grady's second year it was clear ranking him as a five star was total nonsense.

Ace: And we were all a little leery of his film when he was a recruit. But nobody flat-out said “De’Veon Smith is better” because of those dang rankings.

Seth: You're thinking of Green.

Ace: Ah crap, same thing.

Brian: A good answer to this question is "any highly touted Michigan tailback."

Seth: A-Train was way up there. #2 overall RB I think.

Brian: A-Train was so far back in the day that it has less impact. Literal mailmen were doing rankings then.

Seth: Well I may just happen to have some of those mailed Prep Football Reports and Prepstars in reach of my desk for some reason.

Brian: Grady was worse than Green because at least Green was a legitimately huge person. I have no idea what anyone was thinking about in re: Grady.



Ranking The Rankers: 2012 Class

Ranking The Rankers: 2012 Class Comment Count

Brian January 19th, 2017 at 12:52 PM

An annual series that attempts to figure out which of the major recruiting services had the best read on a recruiting class. You get three points for the best, two for second, one for third, with ties adding all those up and splitting it. Note that the higher the rank the more willing I am to make a distinction between takes. #20 is different than #60; #200 is the same as #240.

29753775395_0137dde51a_z (1)

[Bryan Fuller]

No significant differences:

  • Jeremy Clark. The sites missed on Clark (if he plays well in his sixth year and gets drafted) since they didn't think he could play corner. He was a generic three star to all.
  • Allen Gant. Nobody was optimistic here. FWIW, ESPN was the most thunderously pessimistic, ranking him the #150 WR and #72 player in Ohio.
  • Jarrod Wilson. Wilson was a mid-four star to everyone; Scout put him #245 but actually had him lower positionally than anyone else. Wilson performed to his rating.
  • Matt Godin. Godin got one four-star ranking from 24/7; they rated him the #17 SDE and #11 in the state while folks who offered three stars ranked him #8 and #10 in-state and around 30th as a DT, which has twice as many guys as SDE. Those are more or less the same ranking despite the star difference. He was a quintessential 3/4 star tweener and played exactly like it.
  • Ben Braden. Generic three star to the world, and that was about right. Braden was co-Sleeper of the Year along with Chesson. Willie Henry was the best pick; Chesson and Braden were probably #2 and #3 depending on how you feel about Jeremy Clark.
  • Jehu Chesson. Also a generic three star to everyone.
  • Sione Houma. Fullback. ESPN only gave two stars but actually had him higher positionally than anyone else.

Not Applicable: Kaleb Ringer had microfracture surgery as a freshman and never recovered. He transferred to Ferris State. Sites were more or less in agreement on him in any case.

Note: ESPN only ranked out to 150 this year.

Terry RichardsonTerry Richardson

A universal four star despite his diminutive size, Richardson barely played and eventually transferred to Marshall. This was not the finest day for any of the scouting services but ESPN was the wrongest, placing him #68 in the country. 247 (#142), Scout(#183), and Rivals(#224) were more skeptical by degrees but not far enough apart to make a distinction.

1st(T): 24/7, Scout, Rivals
4th: ESPN

James Ross

Another universal four-star with not much playing time to his name, Ross flashed big talent but ended up watching for most of his career. While this was a miss by everyone, Scout(#83) and 247(#116) were the highest on him, with Rivals (#172) a hair more skeptical. ESPN wins the prize for leaving him at the bottom of their four-star rankings with an 80.

1st: ESPN
2nd: Rivals
3rd(T): Scout, 24/7

Royce Jenkins-Stone

The third in a series of four star guys who didn't pan out; ESPN(#111) and Scout(#113) were higher on RJS by a wide enough margin to ding them relative to Rivals(#184) and 247(#209).

1st(T): Rivals, 24/7
3rd(T): Scout, ESPN

344790Joe Bolden

Played a ton, but never particularly well. Ended up undrafted; Michigan upgraded with new faces after his departure. Should have been a high three star; was instead universally hailed with 247(#58) and Scout(#69) significantly higher on him than Rivals(#111) and ESPN(#142).

1st(T): Rivals, ESPN
3rd(T): 24/7, Scout

Chris Wormley

Finally someone a recruiting service underrated. Wormley was infamously dissed by Josh Helmholdt for his lack of motor; Rivals gave him a generic three star ranking that stands out as the biggest miss of the cycle. He was their #22 player in Ohio... after being the subject of a heated Michigan-OSU recruiting battle. Okay.

Everyone else offered four stars, with 24/7(#72) much higher on him than Scout (#164) and ESPN (unranked four-star). Wormley turned into a stalwart DE/DT who should be off the draft board by the end of day two. 24/7 was thus bang on.

1st: 24/7
2nd(T): Scout, ESPN
4th: Rivals

571Tom Strobel

One of the biggest busts of the class, Strobel was a four-star guy to three services. Despite being radically undersized for DT, Strobel was sent there early in his career, emerging as a redshirt junior after Michigan lost their top two nose tackles. Strobel was overrun and not offered a fifth year.

ESPN was the lone skeptic and they were very skeptical. He was the #29 player in OH and the #61 DE. Scout(#93) missed most badly, with 24/7(#198) and Rivals (unranked four star, albeit in front of Wormley) more or less tied for second.

1st: ESPN
2nd(T): 24/7, Rivals
4th: Scout

Mario Ojemudia

Despite a large split in opinion I think I have to punt here. Ojemudia was in the midst of a breakout season as a senior when he went down with an achilles injury in game five, i.e. the very instant it was too late to redshirt. Also he was one of the most insane burned redshirt of the Hoke era, getting spot time in nine games as a 230 pound DE.

So was he a four star and guy just outside the top 200 (ESPN, Scout) or a generic three star (24/7, Rivals)? Yes. Also no.


Willie Henry

Nobody thought much of Henry when he committed but Scout offered him a reasonably high ranking (#38 DT); the rest of the services (#59 OH, #97 DT, #54 OH) had him in the "if we gave out two stars any more this guy would have two stars" range.

1st: Scout
2nd(T): 24/7, Rivals, ESPN

Ondre PipkinsOndre Pipkins

Pipkins had an ACL injury that hampered his career but was healthy enough to play the year after his injury and three years removed from it at Texas Tech, so his lack of impact was probably more about his ability. Everyone missed here; ESPN (four-star outside the top 150, #16 DT) was significantly more skeptical than the rest. Rivals gave him five stars and ranked him in the top 20; Scout and 24/7 had him just outside the top 50.

1st: ESPN
2nd(T): 24/7, Scout
4th: Rivals

Erik Magnuson

Everyone except ESPN was in a tight band from #71 to #82 overall; ESPN had him a four-star and the #27 OT in the country. I was ready to punt on this since Magnuson was kind of at the midpoint but both Seth and Ace were strongly in favor of the latter ranking.

1st: ESPN
2nd(T): Scout, 24/7, Rivals

Blake Bars

Rivals was the only service to offer Bars a fourth star; they ranked him the #32 OT. The next most optimistic service, ESPN, had him #54. Bars never played and transferred away.

1st: 24/7, ESPN, Scout
4th: Rivals

Kyle KalisKyle Kalis

Played a bunch; like Bolden never played particularly well. Has some chance of getting drafted late. Should not have been a five star; Scout(#35) and Rivals(#22) gave him one. 24/7 was significantly more skeptical (#61) and ESPN more skeptical yet(#132).

1st: ESPN
2nd: 24/7
3rd(T): Scout, Rivals

AJ Williams

Generic three star tight end rankings from three services. Scout offered him a fourth, ranked him as an OT, and placed him #225 overall. While Williams did have his late Harbaugh surge, the skeptics were correct.

1st: 24/7, Rivals, ESPN
4th: Scout

259059Devin Funchess

Another bad miss by Rivals in the Midwest, as a future second-round pick with obvious eye-popping athleticism got three stars from them. Everyone else offered four, with ESPN the most optimistic. He was just outside their (then) top 150 and the #5 TE.

1st: ESPN
2nd(T): Scout, 24/7
4th: Rivals

Amara Darboh

Another guy with three sites in a tight range, this from #199 to #215. ESPN whiffed badly, ranking Darboh the #82 WR and a three-star. The other sites were bang on.

1st(T): Rivals, Scout, 24/7
4th: ESPN

Dennis Norfleet

Sigh. Norfleet made a terrible decision to sign up for a Brady Hoke/Al Borges joint that had less than zero use for a tiny running back, but it must be stated that he should not have been a four star. ESPN was the lone service to dump Norfleet way down their list (#80 RB, #26 MI); the other three sites had him a solid four star from #163 to #236. And they probably would have been right if Norfleet had gone to Kansas State or something.

1st: ESPN
2nd(T): Scout, Rivals, 24/7

Your 2012 Recruiting Class Rankings Winner is...

ESPN. By a landslide.

  1. ESPN: 30 points
  2. 24/7: 24 points
  3. Rivals: 18 points
  4. Scout: 17.5 points

It sucks for Michigan that they won largely because they thought a bunch of guys were overrated relative to the rest of the services; on the other hand, ESPN says Michigan has a terrific class this year. So we've got that going for us.

24/7 won the 2011 class, which had fewer points up for grabs since so many of those gentlemen were in the generic three-star void. Your two-year totals:

  1. ESPN: 39.5
  2. 24/7: 36.5
  3. Rivals: 25
  4. Scout: 24.5


Mailbag: DL Snaps, Three Star Quality, Notre Dame Resumption, Some Guy Mad At Manuel

Mailbag: DL Snaps, Three Star Quality, Notre Dame Resumption, Some Guy Mad At Manuel Comment Count

Brian July 21st, 2016 at 12:35 PM


please stop yelling at me about Gary starting, you win [Eric Upchurch]

Hi Brian,

Care to offer your guess on how the snaps will be distributed along the defensive line?

I would guess something like this:

Strongside End: 40% Gary, 20% Wormley, 20% Godin
Nose: 55% Glasgow, 45% Mone
3-Tech: 45% Wormley, 45% Hurst, 10% Godin
Weakside End: 65% Charlton, 25% Winovich/Jones/Kemp, 10% formations with only 3 down lineman.

Obviously this exercise assumes no injuries, and I ignored Lawrence Marshall who'll probably see some playing time.

Interested in your take,


Other than the fact that you project only 80% of the strongside end snaps that seems about right to me. (I assume that was meant to be 60% Gary.)

Over this offseason I've gotten a bunch of pushback about my assertion that Gary probably won't start, pushback that now seems on point after various insiders have asserted that Wormley will stick at 3-tech and Charlton will move over to WDE. But that was always a distinction without much of a difference. Even if Gary was nominally behind Wormley at SDE there would be sufficient snaps available when Wormley rests or Michigan goes to a pass rush package for Gary to make an impact. We're talking about a half-dozen snaps per game going to one guy or the other guy.

The only slight corrections I'd make would be to bump Glasgow up to 60 or 65% and bump Charlton to 70% at the expense of three-man lines.

Hey Brian-

No doubt there's been a recruiting uptick since Harbaugh came aboard....Rashan Gary is nice.  But what about our lower ranked pickups?  I seem to remember you comparing the success of Tressel 3-stars to Carr 3-stars, and the difference was stark.

Without the benefit of seeing how they pan out, how do you think JH's less-heralded guys will stack up to those of previous regimes?  vs. Tressell/Urban?  Curious if you've noticed a difference in talent/potential based on film and summer camp performance.




I don't remember that post but there is certainly a difference in quality amongst the vast plain of three-stars, one that's relatively easy to discern. However, that difference isn't based on evaluations I make with my amateur read on Hudl highlight films. It's more about the shape of a kid's recruitment.

There are three stars who end up on the radar of major schools, and three stars who do not. Maybe a Josh Uche or a Nate Johnson comes with sufficient questions for a rating service to correctly peg them a three-star, but it's also correct for teams like Florida or Notre Dame to go after those guys when their plan A gentlemen are uncertain or head elsewhere.

When we're talking about Michigan commits the players in question have tautologically garnered big time interest. That's one vote of confidence; it's better to have other votes from top 25 schools. There's a set of three stars who are targets of multiple big schools and a set who are not. My read on how the 2016 composite three-stars fit in those bins:

  • Multiple options: Nick Eubanks, Khaleke Hudson, Nate Johnson, Josh Uche, Eddie McDoom, Elysee Mbem-Bosse, Michael Dwumfour.
  • Hard to tell: Kingston Davis.
  • Not so much: Sean McKeon, Devin Gil, Josh Metellus, Stephen Spanellis.

I believe everyone in the "multiple options" section could have gone to one of PSU, Florida, Auburn, or Oregon, along with a number of other schools on that level. Davis almost certainly could have gone to Nebraska and maybe LSU or Florida but probably not. The four guys in "not so much" didn't field much if any interest from top-half Power 5 schools. Four guys out of a class of 28 is quite good.

It's hard to get a solid read on the number of comparable prospects in earlier classes. Awareness of the "offer"/OFFER distinction has crept across college football gradually and many earlier recruiting assessments take listed offers at face value when they probably shouldn't. There's more wobble in older assessments, but here's my estimate of the number of Michigan three-stars that didn't seem to get a whole lot of interest from top 20 programs. (I'm not counting MSU here since they only started recruiting like a top 20 team last year and are no longer.) You'll find some excellent players on these lists, but all told it's better to be noticed by more than one big program:

  • 2012 (9/22): Matt Godin, Kaleb Ringer, Sione Houma, Jehu Chesson , Drake Johnson, Willie Henry, Ben Braden, Jeremy Clark, Blake Bars. Godin and Bars might have had real interest from Notre Dame.
  • 2013 (7/28): Jaron Dukes, Csont'e York, Channing Stribling, Khalid Hill, Da'Mario Jones, Reon Dawson, Scott Sypniewski. I'm leaving out kickers but counting Sypniewski here since long snappers are usually walkons; Harbaugh just got the #2 guy in the country as a PWO. Dan Samuelson and Ross Douglas were Nebraska and PSU decommit three-stars and the only guys in that range who had big time offers.
  • 2014 (6/16): Juwann Bushell-Beatty, Wilton Speight, Maurice Ways, Noah Furbush, Brandon Watson, Brady Pallante. Jared Wangler was a PSU decommit.
  • 2015 (5/14): Karan Higdon, Grant Perry, Keith Washington, Jon Runyan Jr, Nolan Ulizio. Shelton Johnson was a battle against FSU; Reuben Jones against Nebraska.

Lone wolf fliers comprised over a third of the four Michigan classes before Harbaugh got a full recruiting cycle, and just 14% of the 2016 class. So yes, the 2016 class's three stars are a different caliber.

Given Harbaugh's tendency to rack up decommits it's too early to state with any confidence how many will be in the 2017 class. As of right now I'd put Joel Honigford (Oregon), J'Marick Woods (VT, maybe LSU), Phillip Paea (Oregon), and maybe Andrew Stueber (Tennessee) into the "major target" category" and Ben Mason, Carter Dunaway, Chase Lasater, and Kurt Taylor into the "not so much" category. (I'm assuming Benjamin St Juste ends up a composite four star.)

[After the JUMP: Notre Dame resumption!]


Unverified Voracity Drops By Half

Unverified Voracity Drops By Half Comment Count

Brian July 18th, 2016 at 12:38 PM

Harbaugh hanging out with Rich Eisen. 24 minutes:

Remarkable how much different Harbaugh is when he's talking with a person he's comfortable with.

Rashan hype. Jourdan Lewis is impressed:

“You should see Rashan move,” Lewis said this week. “He’s very, very light on his feet. He and (nose tackle) Bryan Mone, it’s crazy. You should see them on the ladder drills. Oh my goodness, it’s unbelievable. At that size, you can’t teach stuff like that. It’s mind-blowing.”

Mone is listed in the spring roster at 6-foot-4, 320 pounds, while Gary is 6-5 and pushing 300 pounds.

The ladder drill develops footwork and quickness.

“It’s about how clean you are, and they barely touch that ladder,” Lewis said. “They are really fast on the ladder, and it’s really crazy.”

Hooray for that. Also hooray for quotes in the offseason. What sorcery is this?

Zordich's impact. We heard a ton about Greg Jackson a year ago but no so much about Zordich. Lewis offers up some praise for Michigan's second-year DBs coach:

“When Coach Zordich got here, he really broke it down for us. We have to know every formation by name. He has specific names for formations and we’ve got to know them. That’s the standard. Technique always has to be precise, because that’s the difference between a pick and a reception. I had knowledge of the game and knew when I could do certain things. But when he came in and he showed us these different formations and tricks when you see different looks, it has really helped my game. He’s been a huge part of our development as players.”

Before Zordich and Jackson came in Michigan's DBs coaches were a linebackers coach and Mike Curt Mallory, who Michigan wanted to get rid of but Hoke held onto because he was excessively nice.

I have a lot of problems with you people. The Michigan Scout board recently had a kerfuffle about ranking in the aftermath of Dylan McCaffrey dropping out of their top 100 in aftermath of the Opening. I shrug at that, like, opinion, man. I think whoever doubts a guy with the last name McCaffrey playing quarterback for Jim Harbaugh is eventually going to look real dumb, but it's just one dude.

I do have a thing that bugs me about Scout's rankings.


That is a map of NFL players by home state. Scout's Midwest region consists of Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky. Collectively those states provide 260 NFL players, 16% of the league's total membership. While college rankings aren't direct NFL projections, all the sites admit that it plays a large role since they're so often judged on their ability to project guys to the league. Meanwhile football players are generally good or not good; serious disagreements between spread-heavy colleges and the pros are mostly limited to 5'10" quarterbacks and slot receivers. For the other 95% of players NFL counts are an excellent proxy for ideal recruiting rankings.

Scout has a top 300; by NFL reckoning this means that approximately 48 players in the Midwest should make that list. This no longer happens. You have to go back to 2014 to get a representative sample of 47 Scout 300 members from their Midwest region. Since there has been a steady and unexplained decline. There were 39 Midwest Scout 300 players in 2015, 38 in 2016, 29 in 2017, and 27 in their early 2018 rankings. Scout has made no effort to explain why they believe the number of future NFL players in the Midwest has dropped 50% in just four years. Talent fluctuates year to year but that's not a fluctuation—it's four straight years of decline, a severe one in 2017 and 2018.

And while I'm on the subject of recruiting ranking things that bug me. Most every year sees 3-6 kickers and punters drafted. The top end guys should get four stars.

Other adventures in Michigan's turnover luck last year. Per LSU blog And The Valley Shook, PBUs convert into interceptions at a relatively reliable rate:

Interception rate is a lot more steady. Last year, defenses intercepted 19.14% of the passes they defended. The average team defended 63.07 passes and had 12.07 picks. The 2014 rate was 21.44%, so we're looking at a fairly constant twenty percent rate. Still, we'll use the 2015 average rate of 19.44%.

Michigan had 55 PBUs a year ago and ten interceptions so that's very close to on point. It's really the lack of fumbles forced that made Michigan's defense lag TO expectations a year ago.

Rule changes. There aren't many new rules this year. You've probably heard about coach ejections being a thing now. They're probably not an actual thing, though:

The NCAA Football Rules Committee has brought football in line with other intercollegiate sports and increased the accountability a coach has in maintaining decorum. Just as with a player, a coach is now disqualified if he collects two unsportsmanlike conduct fouls during a game.

IIRC Bo Pelini did get hit with two unsportsmanlike flags in one game. That's the only instance I can remember in which this rule would actually get deployed. Even the infamous Will Muschamp rage only resulted in a single flag.

The other change of interest to Michigan fans is a clarification of the rules on sliding to the ground:

Rules-makers continue to expand the scope of targeting. Now they will protect any ball carrier who slides feet-first, giving sliding players the kind of protection they've had in the NFL, as some have advocated. If a defender makes "forcible contact" to the head or neck of a runner who has "given himself up," the defender will incur a 15-yard penalty for his team and be disqualified for at least the remainder of the game.

Jake Rudock took two or three nasty head shots on feet-first slides a year ago. Harbaugh actually changed the way he taught sliding as a result, with Rudock falling forward a couple of times in the bowl game. This year anyone blowing up a QB who's going to the ground will get booted, which kind of sucks for defenders expecting to tackle a ball-carrier instead of a guy sliding into second. No word on whether getting blocked into the QB after a play is still an ejection.

I call it trips TE. MMQB breaks down the "Y-iso" formation. Y-iso isolates your pass-catching tight end:


That's Greg Olsen to the bottom of the screen, and he'll catch that corner route for a big chunk as Richard Sherman bails for the inside slot receiver's deep route.

Y-iso snaps have doubled in the last four years of the NFL and with Jake Butt on the roster and Harbaugh's million NFL contacts, not least his brother, there's a good chance you see a significant dose of this in 2016. The rationale given for the formation certainly applies:

“If a team played man, your tight end is gonna get a safety or a linebacker on him and all the corners are gonna go over there and match up on the receivers,” Smith explains. “The tight end has to be talented enough to win that. That has to be a match up you want, depending on the team you’re playing. There’s probably not many of those match-ups that we don’t look at as favorable with Kelce. He’s that kind of player.”

The number of players with the speed to keep up with Butt and the frame to challenge him on balls up high is vanishingly small.

FWIW, I don't think Michigan lined up with the TE split out like this last year; when they ran this it was Butt in a three-point stance.

Mostly right but when you're wrong whoah buddy. ESPN publishes an "all-century" team that cops out on QB by listing Denard Robinson as an all-purpose player. It's mostly right, though it does that annoying thing where you list two running backs, no fullbacks, and two wide receivers. Also they list three corners and one safety. Marlin Jackson is one of those corners and he did play safety as a junior so whatever man. Errors as I see them:

  • Bennie Joppru over Jake Butt. Joppru did have a big senior season; Butt just about matched it last year and is set to shatter the all-time TE receiving mark held by Jim Mandich.
  • Gabe Watson over Mike Martin. I defend Watson endlessly to people disappointed in his two-time All Big Ten first team career, but Martin was far more impactful. Watson occupied guys; Martin blew through them.
  • Shawn Crable over David Harris. Harris is an all-timer MLB. Crable's nutty 28.5 TFL season in 2007 was as a defensive end, and I'm still taking Woodley and Graham over him.
  • Ernest Shazor over most Michigan safeties in the past 16 years. Big play factory largely responsible for Braylonfest having to be Braylonfest. Did murder that Purdue WR, then fell off a cliff. Prefer Jarrod Wilson.

Etc.: Feldman names Michigan the #4 secondary in the country; no anonymous coach quotes this time. CU athletes refer to their academic center as "the Plantation" and CU's president is talking about why they do this and how to address their grievances. New letter jackets for female letterwinners have gone out. Jibreel Black doing a ton of volunteer work. "The Ballad of the Sloop John Belein."


Jimmystats: When the Sites Disagree

Jimmystats: When the Sites Disagree Comment Count

Seth July 7th, 2016 at 3:30 PM

When Ace was scouting Kai-Leon Herbert, the offensive tackle prospect who announced his commitment to Michigan this week, we took note of the big disagreement in his rankings:

Scout Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp

4*, #22 OT,
#183 Ovr

4*, #10 OT,
#61 Ovr

4*, 83, #15 OT,
#106 Ovr

3*, 86, #72 OT,
#683 Ovr

4*, #22 OT,
#166 Ovr

Some variation for a project recruit with big upside isn't that weird, but one site having him threatening the top 50 while another has him barely among the top 700 is some serious disparity. BiSB even wondered aloud if big disagreements like that portend anything for a guy. And well, I have a database. Let's see.


I'm going back to my STARs ratings, which are a composite of the four main recruiting sites' scoring systems/stars/rankings normalized to a sliding scale of five stars. I cut out specialists, then used only players for whom we have at least three rankings to go from, and ran a standard deviation.

So What Happens When They Agree?

This wasn't very useful because most of the guys with high agreement were very well scouted (duh) and a few were like the toppomost of the tippytop. There were 12 guys who sparked almost total agreement (ordered by rating):

Player Class Rivals Scout ESPN 247 STDev
Rashan Gary 2016 5.0 5.0 5.0 5.0 0.00
Jabrill Peppers 2014 5.0 5.0 5.0 5.0 0.00
Ben Bredeson 2016 4.6 4.6 4.6 4.6 0.00
Justin Boren 2006 4.6 4.6 4.6   0.00
Chris Fox 2013 4.2 4.2 4.2 4.2 0.00
Josh Ross 2017 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.0 0.00
M. Witherspoon 2008 4.0 4.0 4.0   0.00
Ben Braden 2012 3.6 3.6 3.6 3.6 0.00
Christian Pace 2010 3.6 3.6 3.6   0.00
Teric Jones 2009 3.6 3.6 3.6   0.00
Frank Clark 2011 3.4 3.4 3.4 3.4 0.00
J.T. Floyd 2008 3.2 3.2 3.2   0.00

Teric Jones, Christian Pace, and Chris Fox lost their careers to injury, but after that only Marcus Witherspoon (for off-field reasons) didn't end up a regular starter, pending the careers of Bredeson (who may be the first tackle in this year) and Rashan Gary (who may be the greatest tackle in years).

So What Happens If They Disagree?

Here's the 15 biggest disparities. I've highlighted the biggest outliers.

# Player Class Rivals Scout ESPN 247 STDev
1 John Ferrara 2006 3.4 3.2 1.8   0.90
2 Jason Kates 2006 4.0 2.3 3.2   0.88
3 Austin White 2010 3.6 4.0 3.4 2.0 0.87
4 Kevin Koger 2008 4.2 4.2 3.0   0.69
5 Conelius Jones 2010 3.4 2.8 3.4 2.0 0.67
6 William Campbell 2009 4.8 4.6 3.6   0.64
7 Junior Hemingway 2007 3.6 3.8 4.8   0.64
8 Brandon Smith 2008 4.2 4.4 3.2   0.64
9 Chase Lasater 2017 3.4 2.8 3.2 2.0* 0.62
10 Brandon Moore 2008 4.0 3.2 4.4   0.61
11 Isaiah Bell 2009 3.6 3.2 4.4   0.61
12 Mark Huyge 2007 3.4 2.5 2.3   0.60
13 Rocko Khoury 2008 3.6 3.4 2.5   0.59
14 Boubacar Cissoko 2008 4.6 4.6 3.6   0.58
15 D.J. Williamson 2010 3.2 2.5 3.6   0.56

*247 hasn't ranked Lasater yet

Big winners on there are Koger, Hemingway, and Huyge, though BWC turned out okay once Hoke got his hands on him. FWIW the one guy Scout and Rivals really disagreed on before ESPN entered the ring was Alex Mitchell. Meanwhile I had to go back to the blogspot page to find Brian's take on the huge disparity over Junior Hemingway:

So, yeah... those numbers above disagree fiercely. Hemingway is either in the top 10, 20, 30, or 40 receivers in the country, depending on who you listen to. Rivals went so far as to downgrade him to a three-star after season's end for reasons unknown (read: plain old provincialism on the part of that particular region's rankings guru). Meanwhile, ESPN is freakin' out over here. Scout and Creepy Tom Lemming split the difference.

Ironically he turned out exactly as advertised:

Leaving aside his exact proportions of shirtlessness for the moment, Hemingway is a leaper capable of ridiculous grabs. His overall athleticism has been questioned by those skeptical of his talent, but no one debates his body control, leaping ability, and hands.

The most noticeable thing other than how many of those guys didn't pan out was that ESPN was usually the oddball.

How Do the Sites Compare?

Was ESPN always so odd? They ranked Koger as a DE (Brian did posit at the time that a move to DE was likely, since Michigan had few), while Rivals and Scout had him the #4 or #6 tight end. But it came up enough I had to look at them versus the average to see if that was normal:


(click makes big)

Mathematically (by deviation of squares) they were by far the most likely to disagree with their peers:

ESPN: 39.73
Scout: 31.74
Rivals: 24.09
247: 13.80

If they were highly accurate that would be interesting, but as you see by the outliers, only one of the dudes they seemed super-way-excited about even started (though Metellus has time).

It was also interesting to see which players each site was most panting/skeptical about. I'll highlight if they got it right:


Rivals Scout ESPN 247Sports
Nolan Ulizio (-0.5) Jason Kates (-0.9) John Ferrara (-1) Austin White (-1.3)
Bryan Mone (-0.5) Brandon Moore (-0.7) Kevin Koger (-0.8) Conelius Jones (-0.9)
Jr Hemingway (-0.5) D.J. Williamson (-0.6) Brandon Smith (-0.7) Jake Butt (-0.5)
Chris Wormley (-0.5) Davion Rogers (-0.6) Will Campbell (-0.7) Jourdan Lewis (-0.4)
Patrick Omameh (-0.4) Reuben Jones (-0.5) Rocko Khoury (-0.7) Devin Asiasi (-0.4)

Some of those guys it's too early to tell. But I might be a bit more leery of Rivals skepticism and hoping Reuben Jones proves Scout can be wrong.

Meanwhile in high expectations, here are the guys certain sites thought would outperform the consensus of their peers:


Rivals Scout ESPN 247
Jason Kates (+0.9) Austin White (+0.9) Jr Hemingway (+0.7) Chris Wormley (+0.6)
Mark Huyge (+0.7) P.Omameh (+0.6) Isaiah Bell (+0.7) Nate Johnson (+0.5)
John Ferrara (+0.6) Josh Furman (+0.5) Brandon Moore (+0.5) Dennis Norfleet (+0.4)
Greg Mathews (+0.5) Sam McGuffie (+0.5) Q.Washington (+0.5) Erik Magnuson (+0.4)
Conelius Jones (+0.5) (tie* +0.5) Conelius Jones (+0.5) Mason Cole (+0.4)

* Marrell Evans, Brandon Smith, Tom Strobel, De'Veon Smith, and John Ferrara.

Some of the guys I didn't highlight were fine but only insomuch as they met their recruiting expectations. At least Rivals knew before everyone else that Huyge was unkillable but otherwise woooooof. Meanwhile Scout got burned by some major athletes (Furman and McGuffie at least wound up starting elsewhere), but the only real diamond they pointed out was Omameh; the five-way tie varied from slightly too positive (D.Smith, Ferrara) to vastly overrating (Evans, Strobel, B.Smith).

Of course these are just small sample sizes—useful for gauging extreme outliers but little else. So I used scatter charts to see if there was a major difference in the aggregate, tracking all their recruiting ratings by deviation from the mean and their starts/eligible seasons. The best scouting site would have the most bubbles very high and to the right, and fewest bubbles high and to the left (guys they were skeptical about who got a lot of starts).


A few major outliers got cut out but a picture has emerged. When Scout says a guy is good you should probably pay attention. Rivals has a low batting average but will connect as often as they whiff. ESPN appears to lose track of guys who aren't ranked at the very top, so their outliers may be more cautionary than anything. 247 plays it mostly safe but once in awhile takes a calculated risk that usually pays off.

Or that they're huge Norfleet fans. One understands.

What does that mean for Herbert and the OL this year?


We haven't seen this kind of distribution before, honestly. These rankings could change so much before February however that I wouldn't put much stock in them anyway. The Herbert disagreement doesn't look so bad in the STARs. With nothing else to go on, I'd say keep an eye on 247's rating to see if that jumps after the Opening, and otherwise trust that Scout has him pegged.


Jimmystats: A Crutin Consensus Take 2

Jimmystats: A Crutin Consensus Take 2 Comment Count

Seth February 10th, 2016 at 10:05 AM


So please throw out the old one; I've re-jimmied my historical recruiting spreadsheets to create a new formula for reporting a consensus star rating, kind of like 247's composite rating except it's not just 247 who has one now.

What I mean by "STARs" We are all familiar (I hope) with the idea of a 5-star player and a 4-star player, etc. For a long time on this site we've also been talking about "consensus" 5-stars, versus maybe "4.5-stars" who were maybe 5-stars to half the scouting sites and 4-stars to the other half. Thing is that's not very useful either; a guy whom every site ranked 1 spot below the last 5-star and a guy whom every site ranked just above the first 3-star are both "consensus 4-stars" but should have very different expectations.

Besides the sites really use their own scoring systems, having a certain score equal star ratings just for the sake of comparison. Or even if they don't (Scout) they rank players against each other. That's a lot of data they're trying to tell us about our recruits, but difficult to access. Why can't we have just one number on a simple scale that says all that?

Oh right we do: the 247 composite. Well why can't we have another?

The idea was to take all the different recruiting scoring systems and have them fit a simple star rating system. My previous attempt had some problems, mostly with ESPN not syncing up with the others. So here's the new attempt:

STARs Rivals Scout ESPN 247
★★★★★ 6.1 (Top 10) Top 10 91+ 99+
4.80 6.1 Top 25 88-90 98
4.60 6.0 Top 50 85-87 96-97
4.40 5.9 (t100) Top 100 84 95
4.20 5.9 Top 150 82-83 94
★★★★ 5.8 (t250) Top 250 81-82 92-93
3.80 5.8 UNR 4-star 80 90-91
3.60 5.7 3-star 78-79 88-89
3.40 5.6 " 77 85-87
3.20 5.5 " 73-76 82-84
★★★ 5.4 " 70-72 80-81
2.75 5.3 2-star 67-69 77-79
2.50 5.2 " 64-66 74-76
2.25 5.1 " 62-63 72-73
★★ 5.0 " 60-61 70-71
1.75 4.9 " 59 69

The one potentially confusing thing is "3.80" and not "4.00" is the baseline of a low-ish 4-star. Ditto "2.75" for a low-ish 3-star. I did that because the sites have up to 300 guys who get a 4-star ranking, and also have Top ~250 or 300 lists. Since what we think of as a "4-star" is usually the kind of guy who makes that list, I wanted the numbers to reflect it.

[after the jump: how I did it, and free spreadsheets yay!]