Examining McElwain's OFEI Rank and Talent at 'Bama

Examining McElwain's OFEI Rank and Talent at 'Bama

Submitted by Caesar on February 16th, 2018 at 9:43 AM

Hello folks,

How 'Bama was 'Bama recruiting when McElwain coached there and how good was his offense with that level of talent? How does that compare to Michigan's talent-level? There's plenty of hand-waiving going on, so I thought I'd look into it.

Methodology

  1. Use Wiki to find the 2008-2011 'Bama offense starters.
  2. Use the 247 Composite to check 'Bama starters' rating and create an average.
  3. Evaluate the talent level in light of OFEI Rank (link).
  4. Compare this information to Michigan's probable starters and their 247 rating.

Chart: 'Bama Starters and 247 Ranking + OFEI Rank

 

2008 Starters 2008 Composite Rating 2009 Starters 2009 Composite Rating 2010 Starters 2010 Composite Rating 2011 Starters 2011 Composite Rating
Mike McCoy, WR 3 Brad Smelley, FB 3 Preston Dial, FB 3 Brad Smelley, FB 3
Marquis Maze, WR 3 Marquis Maze, WR 3 Marquis Maze, WR 3 Marquis Maze, WR 3
Andre Smith, LT  5 James Carpenter, LT 4 James Carpenter, LT 4 Barrett Jones, LT 4
Mike Johnson, LG 4 Mike Johnson, LG 4 Chance Warmack, LG 3 Chance Warmack, LG 3
Antoine Caldwell, C 3 William Vlachos, C 4 William Vlachos, C 4 William Vlachos, C 4
Marlon Davis, RG 3 Barrett Jones, RG 4 Barrett Jones, RG 4 Anthony Steen, RG 3
Drew Davis, RT 2 Drew Davis, RT 2 D.J. Fluker, RT 5 D.J. Fluker, RT 5
Nick Walker, TE 4 Colin Peek, TE 3 Michael Williams, TE 4 Michael Williams, TE 4
Julio Jones, WR 5 Julio Jones, WR 5 Julio Jones, WR 5 DeAndrew White, WR 4
John Parker Wilson, QB 3 Greg McElroy, QB 3 Greg McElroy, QB 3 AJ McCarron, QB 4
Glen Coffee, RB 3 Mark Ingram, RB 4 Mark Ingram, RB 4 Trent Richardson, RB 5
               
Average 3.454545455   3.545454545   3.818181818   3.818181818
OL Average 3.4   3.6   4   3.8
               
Offense Rank 14   6   6   7

Chart: What of Michigan?

2017 Predicted Starters 2017 Composite Rating
Kekoa Crawford, WR 4
Ben Mason, FB 3
Nolan Ulizio, LT  3
Ben Bredeson, LG 4
Cesar Ruiz, C 4
Michael Onwenu, RG 4
Juwann Bushell-Beatty, RT 4
Zach Gentry, TE 4
Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR 5
Shea Patterson, QB 5
Karan Higdon, RB 3
   
Average 3.909090909
OL Average 3.8

Thoughts 

On its face, it looks like McElwain accomplished some impressive things at 'Bama with less talent than Michigan has presently, at least based on ratings. Year one of McElwain was especially impressive because 'Bama's OFEI ranking was 67th when he came in. Also, especially if Patterson starts, Michigan would have the same number of 5-star starters as 'Bama's teams did during McElwain's tenure (though none at OT). Finally, I think Michigan of present and 'Bama during McElwain have similar quality defenses. 

Some meaningful differences: 'Bama didn't have the problems at OT, and OL in general, that Michigan has (honestly, I wasn't even sure who to put as Michigan's LT). The backups at 'Bama were all really talented, perhaps more than Michigan.
 
Problems with the Methodology
  1. Only looking at starters
  2. Not sure if a starter at 'Bama during that stretch is like a Mattison starter--i.e., guys who rotate a great deal
  3. Only looking at recruiting rankings as a proxy for talent

Conclusions

Maybe McElwain isn't so bad? I know this is looking at data from a long time ago, but he seemed to do a great deal with less talent than he'll have at Michigan. Also, I was very conservative about Michigan's talent pool (no Black listed, for example), so I may even be understating that talent edge. 

On the other hand, any improvements in talent really depends on what was a 'starter' at 'Bama. I'm not sure about that. Also, this was years ago, and perhaps arguments can be made about the game passing McElwain by. There's also something to be said of integrating his concepts into Michigan's current system, and whether there will be a transition cost associated with that.

 

5-Star DE Eyabi Anoma: so you're saying there's a chance...

5-Star DE Eyabi Anoma: so you're saying there's a chance...

Submitted by Arb lover on December 19th, 2017 at 3:08 PM

For the internet trolls who are purely concerned with crystal balls, read no further; 100% of crystal balls have Eyabi Anoma going to Alabama. However as ACE put it yesterday:

The coaches have mostly narrowed their focus to a short list of high-level prospects, including DEs Eyabi Anoma...

Michigan appears to be making a big push for him and they aren't shy about letting reporters know when asked. Echoing Ace, the freep reported yesterday that Michigan continues to make a heavy push for him. So I'm saying Michigan thinks they have a chance.

I've outlined below paraphrasing rationale for why 100% of crystal balls are saying Alabama, as well as hopefully more information on Eyabi and his situation. In any case we will all know tomorrow as he has moved up his announcement date to tomorrow at 2pm instead of Friday.

Essentially from what I can gather the crystal ball calls have been made for the below reasons:

1) Eyabi has visited Alabama four times, the most of any school, and is their top DE recruit of the year. He lists only Alabama, Michigan and Maryland as his top choices.

2) Sam Poggi, one of his current coaches has ties to Alabama (suspend your knowledge of the Michigan connections for a moment).

3) It makes a pretty trend; Eyabi would be the second five star DE recruit out of the North East to go to Alabama recently, after Terrell Hall (he changed his name to Terrell Lewis ) (suspend your knowledge, this time of Rashan Gary).

4) Most importantly, Eyabi is looking for two things that Alabama can provide- Training to get him to the NFL and a winning schedule. In the words of his own head coach:

Alabama does a great job of getting guys to the NFL and putting their players in position to succeed. Coach Saban runs a great program. You have the academic support in place. All of the little things are taken care of in that program. Eyabi is also super competitive and hates losing. Alabama is that type of team. They don’t lose much. He thrives in those types of environments. I think that’s why he’s very attracted to what they offer.

However this is far from a normal recruit, and the predictions on this guy deserve a second pass.

I've compiled what I hope is a better understanding of Eyabi and his decision process.

Eyabi has played football for eighteen months at this level, and had been focusing his high school career on playing basketball prior to transferring to St. Francis as a Junior. However having seen him up close and in action I'd say that his frame is too big to play the kind of basketball he does, though he could easily put on more weight as a DE. His assistant coach is none other than Sam Poggi who hopefully needs no introduction. In Poggi's own words:

He's the best player I've ever coached

Michigan first became aware of him at a satillite camp Harbaugh attended in the summer of 2016 as he was preparing to start playing for St. Francis. In his Michigan interactions he attended the summer BBQ, the MSU game, watched the Maryland game, and took his official for the OSU game. He has indicated that he's looking for two things out of a program. First, he's looking for a school that can really challenge him to be a better defensive player

So when I go up (to Michigan) I want to see how they coach. Are they aggressive? Are they conservative? Are they (relaxed) or are they on me? I want my coach to be consistently on me. If I’m going to do something wrong, yell at me. I take criticism pretty well when it comes to football, so I want that. I don’t want nothing given to me. I don’t want no promises. As long as that happens, I think that will be a good visit.

The second thing he is concerned about is getting to stay close to his sister Amiya who is also a senior (though they are not twins). He's the only boy in the middle of six sisters, so that should tell you all you need to know about his ability to thrive under constructive criticism. Amiya is looking at schools also, and they really want to compete together athletically at the next level. As a junior she was a state champ for track and field and also set the all time state record for the triple jump. In an interview with 247 Eyobi talked about the competitive nature between himself and his almost twin, and it doesn't seem like getting in together somewhere will be an issue. 

(We) have many of the same scholarship offers and talk about attending the same school.

As far as what Amiya wants, academic wise the choice between Alabama and Michigan is fairly clear. While the SEC (to a lesser extent Alabama) has been a traditional powerhouse of women's Track and Field, Michigan just completed a state of the art track and field facility and roped in a very competitive 2017 recruiting class as a result. Amiya would be hard pressed not to consider Michigan if that's what her brother is doing. 

With his two stated considerations above, I'd agree that at one point he may have made an informal decision with his sister to attend Alabama. However there's an important timeline that bears review, a narrative of facts if you will. 

The day before Eyabi made his official visit to Tuscaloosa, Alabama's Defensive Coordinator Jeremy Pruitt announced he was leaving the Tide to be Tennessee's new head coach  and was taking with him one of his assistants, Brian Niedermeyer. Pruitt then began a recruiting blitz for the Vols and wasn't around helping to prepare Alabama for the Clemson game (let alone helping with recruiting for Alabama) until the beginning of this week. Consider this development with Eyabi's need for good coaching as a new player, his desire to mesh with coaches, and not even knowing who the new Alabama defensive coordinator will be. 

Soon after this Eyabi posted two similar tweets in what I can only consider a shot across the bow to anyone listening. 

I am not committed to any school still weighing my options

OT: Saban and his QB's - are you not surprised?

OT: Saban and his QB's - are you not surprised?

Submitted by Miami Maize on August 8th, 2017 at 2:44 PM

I haven't seen this posted, but wow is this telling of the manner in which Saban communicates (or not) with his supposedly key players.  I just can't see this kind of horseshit happening in a Harbaugh interaction with a Peters or McCaffery.  Bateman and Barnett were 5* QBs that I know we were after at certain stages. Hurts is a talent, no question, but not all is fun and games in Tuscaloosa. 

http://nypost.com/2017/08/08/ex-alabama-qbs-nick-saban-screwed-us/

OT: An illustrated guide to the recruiting visit at Nick Saban's house

OT: An illustrated guide to the recruiting visit at Nick Saban's house

Submitted by GoBlueinEugene on January 30th, 2017 at 2:27 PM
For a little alone time with Saban, recruits will head to the coach's office. In there, the swag is measured in karats.
 
"The first thing that really caught my eyes were a lot of diamonds, just shining in my face," Wright said. "First thing [Saban] said, 'Oh yeah, we love jewelry here.' All you could see was a lot of diamonds."

 

http://www.espn.com/college-football/recruiting/story/_/id/18557375/an-…

Najee Harris Explains His Commitment Decision

Najee Harris Explains His Commitment Decision

Submitted by Caesar on January 27th, 2017 at 3:42 PM

I understand many are exhausted by the topic, particularly nearing NSD, but I found the article (link) interesting. 

1. It really did come down to the final day, which I think acquits Sam Webb (some were accusing him of prolonging the story to get subscriptions).

2. He didn't commit to Michigan for reasons Harbaugh would respect. Michigan doesn't yet have the recruiting to claim that all their athletes will face off against the best in practice. Harris framed this a way Harbuagh would, talking about constantly getting better against the best football players in the country.

 

OT: Bama Schadenfreude-Auburn Fans Roll Toomer's Corner

OT: Bama Schadenfreude-Auburn Fans Roll Toomer's Corner

Submitted by JWG Wolverine on January 10th, 2017 at 7:41 PM
The Bama Schadenfreude continues across the nation as Auburn fans roll Toomer's Corner! Hope you've enjoyed last night/today's national celebration of Bama's loss! https://www.seccountry.com/auburn/look-auburn-fans-roll-toomers-corner-… Go Blue!

2 observations on Alabama - Clemson game

2 observations on Alabama - Clemson game

Submitted by anywaytodelete… on January 10th, 2017 at 10:21 AM

1) Clemson wins despite being -2 in turnovers and having a seriously inferior punting game - thus losing the field position battle in a major way for most of the game.  Even those things up and Clemson might have won by 3 touchdowns.

2) It took an incredible (2nd half) performance by a very very good team to beat an Alabama team that fought with one arm tied behind its back.  Damn they're good.

Will be interesting to see how Alabama's loss of its aura of invincibility plays out during the final 3 weeks of 2017 recruiting. (No, I don't expect commits to defect, but just maybe it influences a certain 5-star DL's assessment of the schools he is considering).

Alabama's Recruiter for 5* OT Leatherwood Rumored to Be Leaving

Alabama's Recruiter for 5* OT Leatherwood Rumored to Be Leaving

Submitted by Caesar on January 4th, 2017 at 12:08 PM

Mario Cristobal is currently OL coach for 'Bama, and his recruiting prowess is pretty well established. He was a former head coach at FIU.

Leatherwood likely needs little introduction. He is a 5* OT who had Michigan on his radar before settling on 'Bama a while ago. Maybe this moves the needle?

Source: https://twitter.com/FootballScoop/status/816664455765524480

Leatherwood's 247 Profile: http://247sports.com/Player/Alex-Leatherwood-80818