200 Days: Rich Rod vs. Hoke

200 Days: Rich Rod vs. Hoke

Submitted by Seth on July 26th, 2011 at 6:11 PM

 Venting  108007682_crop_358x243

xkcd / Hoke pointing at xkcd / EDIT: which means you should click on it dammit so you will get the point!

This morning His Dudeness posted a throwaway discussion topic for the board comparing Rodriguez's 2009 recruiting to Hoke's 2012. This was taken by some as an attempt to reopen 2008-'10 wounds but really it's another "how many ways can we talk about how awesome our 2012 recruiting is going?" (So so awesome). Anyway this started as a reply to fisk of that thread and ended up at 2,000 words plus charts. Hi, I'm Misopogon, have we met?

It's been almost 200 days since Hoke took the job. That's not much to go on when trying to judge a coach. Basically there's 1) his previous resume, 2) the process of how he was hired, 3) how he built his staff, 4) how he integrates into the program, and then 5) a few months of recruiting. I literally wrote up the first four then figured what the hell would we want to go over that again, so let's skip right to recruiting.

Finishing the Class of…


Rodriguez additions to Class of '08:

Name Pos State Stars RR Pos Rk Nat Rk State Rk Rec'd By
Michael Shaw RB OH 4 stars 5.9 7 NR 6  
Taylor Hill LB OH 4 stars 5.8 21 NR 16  
Terrence Robinson RB TX 4 stars 5.8 9 NR 34  
Ricky Barnum OL FL 4 stars 5.8 5 NR 37  
Roy Roundtree WR OH 4 stars 5.8 44 NR 17 Bruce Tall
Justin Feagin ATH FL 3 stars 5.7 41 NR 71  
Martavious Odoms WR FL 3 stars 5.7 71 NR 77 Rod Smith
Patrick Omameh DE OH 2 stars 5.1 NR NR NR Bruce Tall

Hoke additions to Class of '11:

Name Pos State Stars RR Pos Rk Nat Rk State Rk Rec'd By
Chris Barnett TE TX 4 stars 5.8 14 NR 32 Jeff Hecklinski
Raymon Taylor ATH MI 4 stars 5.8 14 NR 6  
Antonio Poole LB OH 3 stars 5.7 26 NR 20 Mark Smith
Frank Clark LB OH 3 stars 5.6 NR NR 52  
Thomas Rawls RB MI 3 stars 5.6 NR NR 19 Fred Jackson
Russell Bellomy QB TX 3 stars 5.5 NR NR NR  
Tamani Carter DB OH 3 stars 5.5 NR NR 60 Mark Smith
Keith Heitzman DE OH 3 stars 5.5 NR NR NR Greg Mattison, Mark Smith
Matt Wile K CA 2 stars 5.3 NR NR NR  

This is unfair to judge the coaches against each other. Rodriguez was hired in November and was taking over a Citrus-bound program with a retiring Hall of Fame coach, while Hoke was hired in the middle of January after a blowout Gator loss and following a fired guy. Rodriguez had less time than would have been optimal given the breadth of his transition, but it was no more of a transition than Hoke faces, and RR got a good two months, including the all-important December period, to bring the current class home.

The recruiting is reflected in that. Other than bringing Hill from W.Va., Rodriguez mostly grabbed guys to fit his offensive system. Shaw's a speed-back, T-Rob, Roundtree and Odoms were slot receivers, Barnum and Omameh were the kind of agile offensive linemen who fit best in zone blocking, and Feagin was a last-minute consolation prize when Pryor decided he'd get more out of attending Ohio State. Hoke on the other hand found a handful of Michigan and Ohio State Sad Joshes (Clark, Carter, Heitzman, Rawls, Poole, Bellomy and Taylor), at positions of great need, replaced the kicker lost in the transition, yanked the requisite Purdue recruit (Bellomy) to ensure Danny Hope stays petty, and pulled in a last-minute coup on a national tight end.

Both did okay, not fantastic. Hoke got a kicker back, which was a big deal, but needed to flip someone's 5.9+ OT and pick up another good-to-great linebacker to avoid scary depths at that positions starting in 2012; RR's failure to get more help at defensive back (Carr had Brandon Smith, J.T. Floyd, and Cissoko) would haunt him the rest of his Michigan career (nobody planned on losing 2/4 LBs by next summer). Oh, and, ahem, quarterback.

Recruiting the Class of…


Rodriguez 2009 recruits as of July 26, 2008:

Name Pos State Stars RR Commit'd Pos Nat State Rec'd By:
William Campbell DT MI 5 stars 6.1 Oct. 2007 5 26 1 (Carr's staff)
Justin Turner DB OH 4 stars 6.0 Mar 28 3 35 1 Bruce Tall
Bryce McNeal WR MN 4 stars 6.0 May 1 10 75 1 Tony Dews
Kevin Newsome QB VA 4 stars 5.9 Apr 24 4 163 9 Fred Jackson
Jeremy Gallon ATH FL 4 stars 5.9 Jun 05 11 NR 31 Rod Smith
DeQuinta Jones DT LA 4 stars 5.8 Jul 21 NR NR 10 Jay Hopson
Shavodrick Beaver QB TX 4 stars 5.8 Apr 29 8 206 24 Rod Smith
Fitz Toussaint RB OH 4 stars 5.8 Apr 18 8 NR 14 Tony Gibson
Michael Schofield OL IL 4 stars 5.8 Jun 16 18 NR 6 Scott Shafer
Teric Jones RB MI 3 stars 5.7 Mar 29 37 NR 12 Tony Dews
Isaiah Bell LB OH 3 stars 5.7 Mar 31 26 NR 27 Tony Gibson

Hoke 2012 recruits as of July 26, 2011:

Name Pos State Stars RR Commit'd Pos Nat State Rec'd By
Kyle Kalis OL OH 4 stars 6.0 Jul 10 4 18 1 Greg Mattison
Royce Jenkins-Stone LB MI 4 stars 5.9 Apr 16 7 87 1 Fred Jackson
Erik Magnuson OL CA 4 stars 5.9 Jun 10 8 34 6 Dan Ferrigno
Blake Bars OL TN 4 stars 5.8 Jun 26 34 NR 6 Mark Smith
Joe Bolden LB OH 4 stars 5.8 Apr 29 16 NR 11 Greg Mattison
Pharaoh Brown DE OH 4 stars 5.8 May 07 20 NR 17 Greg Mattison
Terry Richardson DB MI 4 stars 5.8 May 19 18 NR 4 Greg Mattison
James Ross LB MI 4 stars 5.8 May 2 4 NR 3 Fred Jackson
Tom Strobel DE OH 4 stars 5.8 Jun 10 18 NR 14 Greg Mattison
Jarrod Wilson DB OH 4 stars 5.8 Jul 8 NR NR NR Greg Mattison
Ben Braden OL MI 3 stars 5.7 Mar 24 59 NR 9 Greg Mattison
Devin Funchess TE MI 3 stars 5.7 Apr 22 17 NR 6 Fred Jackson
Allen Gant DB OH 3 stars 5.7 May 31 22 NR 29 Al Borges
Matthew Godin DT MI 3 stars 5.7 May 12 27 NR 7 Fred Jackson
Kaleb Ringer LB OH 3 stars 5.7 Apr 12 11 NR 25 Mark Smith
Caleb Stacey OL OH 3 stars 5.7 Mar 26 12 NR 22 Mark Smith
Anthony Standifer DB IL 3 stars 5.7 Jun 01 37 NR 14 Jeff Hecklinski
A.J. Williams TE OH 3 stars 5.7 Apr 22 16 NR 28 Mark Smith
Mario Ojemudia DE MI 3 stars 5.6 May 7 NR NR 14 Fred Jackson
Jeremy Clark# DB KY 3 stars 5.5 Jun 24 NR NR 6 (Camp offer)
Sione Houma RB UT 0 stars NR Jul 25 NR NR NR Dan Ferrigno

# = entering as grayshirt

By the way those are end-of-cycle rankings so it's not an exact match, e.g. Newsome was at one point rated the 20th player in the country by Rivals and was around 40-something by mid-summer. For our purposes it gets the point across: RR had some great gifts for the tree had they hung on, but still needed a lot of stocking stuffers.

Both coaches worked quickly to over-address positions of the greatest whiffs in years previous. Rodriguez got two of the top QBs in the country signed on, and had 5-stars or near enough at cornerback and DT. To the groans of smurf-haters everywhere, RR also had secured two more scat-backs and another (highly rated) slot receiver. Schofield was considered a good system OT; Isaiah Bell was a S/LB sleeper adored by one Ohio site but not the national scouts. Hoke meanwhile has killed, already havingzrtn_011n1fb05fc4_tn secured five OL commitments, three of whom are already past the "just a 4-star" threshold, and also swept the region in LB recruits, faring almost as well in DEs. Hoke's clearly got the advantage.

You'll note a lot of the 2008 haul never made it to campus. The 3-9 year was partly to blame of course, however as of late July 2008 many of RR's guys were soft. Will Campbell (right) committed to Carr in the middle of his junior (2007) year and remained a softie; he eventually de-committed in September only to re-up after a long and pulmonarily destructive flirtation with SEC schools. Bryce committed but looking around; he lost interest in October, presumably after many sleepless nights spent thinking of Nick Sheridan passing to him. Newsome was entertaining a camp visit at Virginia Tech this time three years ago, but turned it down and sounded like he was rock. He and Beaver gave up around the same time (right after you mentally gave up on the 2008 offense) and were immediately replaced by Tate and the hard pursuit of some supersonic kid in Florida who Urban wanted badly and nobody thought was a QB.

And then there's DeQuinta Jones, a 4-star DT from Louisiana who just kind of randomly pretended to commit to M without visiting, kind of the way that my buddy once announced that he was in love with the hottest girl in camp, whom we will call L.H.*, so that other girls in camp would take him more seriously. If this seems at all weird to you welcome to the wild and wacky world of Louisiana recruiting; bring a funny hat. The DeQuinta/LH gambit worked surprisingly well in both cases, except not for the faux commit-ee.

If you take away the guys who de-committed from RR's 2009 class it looks more like this…


…and it's Hoke like whoa. A bad year in 2011 and maybe his class starts falling apart as well, but it is important to note that nobody on that list above is considered soft except the grayshirted Jeremy Clark** if he gets something better than high-ish MAC offers, whereas that label applied to half of RR's first full class by July.

Stick their late additions to the hybrid class with their first-year recruiting by July and you get:


Not hugely dissimilar except that Hoke's got a lot more 3-stars and is missing four blue chips. In a worst case scenario the 2011 team starts losing a la 2008, while Ohio State's dancing along having gotten off virtually scot-free from the most obvious case of Failure to Monitor and Lack of Institutional Control I've ever witnessed in 20 years of college football fandom, and Hoke's Goodwill Ride of 2011 comes to a crashing, sudden stop, and then entire position groups are destroyed, and the 2012 guys start decomitting and the university hires Freakbass to rebrand us. If all those things don't happen, well, this probably turns out better than the last time.

Brian penned a State of Recruiting article in early August '08 that's worth a look-back so you can remember your comparable state of mind. How does that compare to now? And I didn't even make you compare "Denard: The Upperclassman Years" to "gee I hope this Sheridan guy really is a Basanez."

--Summer Glau

P.S. Don't miss the next exciting episode of 'Alphas' on Sci-Fi!


* Fellow period Tamakwans will agree that this wasn't debatable. Maaaybe a few votes for E.C. or L.C. (EDIT: L.B.!!! HT Schram, Schram, Schneider, & Luria)

** He'll get a YMRMFSPA Charles Stewart if he makes it, but the Phillip Brackins comparison is so go, unless we decide you can all remember Eric Rosel.