Recruit JuCo For Defense?

Submitted by Robbie Moore on October 14th, 2010 at 9:22 AM

Assuming Rich Rod can not just plug in any athletic guy at QB and get great results then Denard Robinson is something very special.  Like once in a career special.  It would be a real shame not to make a championship run with Robinson.  But if the defense doesn't get better fast then there will be no run. So why not target the top two JuCo linebackers?  And maybe a D lineman and a corner?  I realize that JuCo is not the way to build a lasting program but this is an extraordinary situation.

So to the MGoBlog recruiting gurus, who's out there?  Tell me there are a few possibilities.



October 14th, 2010 at 10:04 AM ^

Reading comprehension fail. What part of "Forget Juco" was hard for you to understand?

Ezeh isn't very good. Jay Hopson is criminally incompetent. Putting those two together leads to Michigan D circa 2009.


October 14th, 2010 at 11:09 AM ^

You're 100% right.  First, Bruce's expression before the kick is extremely frightening.  Then, his leg suddenly whips around and I think he knocks Brutus's head off his body.  That makes me smile but then Bruce's expression scares me again!  Its like a rollercoaster ride all inside a little avatar.


October 14th, 2010 at 10:40 AM ^

Don't get me wrong, I don't want to go out of my way to defend the coaches when it comes to defense because I think mistakes have been made and they're not necessarily helping the situation in some cases.  But really?  Really?

You listed 6 players from the 2009 defense.  What about the other 5?  What about the fact that you're actually DEFENDING Stevie Brown, who was one of the all-time worst players until last year when THIS COACHING STAFF managed to milk some of his talent and turn him into a border-line NFL player.  They don't get credit for that? 

Or what about Brandon Graham being an over-weight guy playing out of position until THIS COACHING STAFF turned him into the QB eating beast he is today?  They don't get credit for that either? 

Last year a skinny true freshman Craig Roh had to play.  Last year Ezeh was still Ezeh and had to play.  Donovan Warren was bad and has flamed out as a prospect, but aside from that they had to play freshman JT Floyd at the other corner because they had no one else.  Last year a freshman student body walk-on had to play.  Last year there were FOUR walk-ons in the 2-deep.  I don't care if you're Vince Lombardi, there's only so much you can do with that.  Maybe you could do more than our coaches did, but don't forget that the offense did them no favors with turnovers, field position, and 3-and-out drives. 

To be successful a defense needs to have talent, depth, and experience.  This season we have almost none of that - none.  Maybe the coaches are part of the problem, but they are not the biggest issue. 


October 14th, 2010 at 9:55 AM ^

Whether it's tough for JUCOs to get into Michigan or not, we should still pursue some of them.  A JUCO player in his sophomore season should have at least two semesters of transcripts ready to send to Michigan, and U of M could tell him right now how many of those credits would transfer.  By January he should have at least three semesters' worth of credits.

It's not impossible for JUCO players to transfer to Michigan.  If I were Rodriguez, I'd be offering JUCO defensive players left and right.  They might only be quick fixes, but that would give these freshmen and sophomores a chance to get their minds and bodies right.


October 14th, 2010 at 10:20 AM ^

it's about them having enough credits when they get to michigan to graduate on time. fact is, almost none of them do so it's not worth the effort of recruiting a JUCO player unless they're at the junior college for reasons outside of academic eligibility (see byron moore)


October 14th, 2010 at 12:08 PM ^

Why? Because the experience issue is one that no coach can get around, and JUCO level football is only a small step higher than HS. Next year we will have more experienced secondary players, including the hopeful return of a very good one in Woolfolk. This, along with necessary experience for any returning LB's, which RR has stated he wants get Demens and JB in, will be much better than calling in some JUCO, and thinking the problem will be fixed. We will have experience next year, enough so that the younger players(freshmen) don't have to come in and play raw, unless they are a top-flite recruit. Next year will be the telling year for GERG, assuming no tragic losses like Woolfolk and Warren were.


October 14th, 2010 at 1:24 PM ^

But there are always JUCO recruits who can contribute.  Cameron Newton came from a JUCO.  Chad Johnson came from a JUCO.  I'm not saying every JUCO transfer is going to be a star, but they can fill gaps.

Regardless, we still need help in the secondary.  We don't have a free safety of the future (Cam Gordon is too slow and I hope he doesn't stay there his entire career), and our cornerback situation is iffy (Woolfolk might not return at full strength, Rogers is graduating, the rest have questionable talent).

I doubt it will happen, but I think a JUCO defensive back could be helpful.


October 14th, 2010 at 2:14 PM ^

Excuse me for my ignorance, but are you referring to Chad "Ocho Cinco" Johnson?  I hope not.  My grandfather would turn over in his grave if he knew Ocho Cinco was a Michigan Wolverine.

The issue for me is not whether they can contribute - I'm sure there are lots of kids in JUCOs that would/will become D-1 and NFL stars - but whether they belong academically.  I'm sure there are some that are very bright but just did not assert themselves in high school.  But I submit that would be the far end of the spectrum of JUCO transfers.


October 14th, 2010 at 2:48 PM ^

Whether it's tough for JUCOs to get into Michigan or not, we should still pursue some of them. 

Magnus, I can't believe you of all people are making this argument.  You have repeatedly criticized RR for recruiting academically borderline kids (with justification).  Now you are calling for him to spend time on players who are even less likely to arrive here?  Even if there were a pathway for most of these guys to take to have two years of college credit when they arrived (which is necessary for them to be academically eligible), it would likely involve taking a grueling courseload that the player probably couldn't handle.  Other schools will just take the kid, no questions asked.  Faced with those choices, which one is a Juco going to take?


October 14th, 2010 at 7:58 PM ^

Would it require that much effort on Rodriguez's part to have somebody run through Joe Schmoe Juco's transcripts and see if he might have some transferable credits?  I doubt it.

And not all kids at JUCOs are there for academic problems.  Many of them are, but some of them are late bloomers or talented guys like Byron Moore with extenuating circumstances.


October 14th, 2010 at 12:52 PM ^

when talking about championship caliber. Oregon, who many think is the #1 team in the nation, does not have anywhere near the top defense, but it isn't that hard to imagine them running the table and winning the MNC. Iowa, on the other hand, has a top-rated D, but lost to a team that just lost to Oregon St., and no one envisions them winning out the rest of their games.

A defense only has to be good enough to hold the other team to less than your offense scores. Simple, right? Now, if your offense can score on anyone, and score a lot, like Oregon's can, your defense doesn't have to be great, just good.

Having said that, I think there will be major improvement next year on our D, particularly considering the youth in the secondary, and I think UM will contend next year for the B10 championship, even with a defense that may only be considered average by most. If our offense wasn't going to be good next year, we'd probably find ourselves in a similar situation as this year, expecting only 7-9 wins, but doing it because of all-around team competence, instead of having to rely on our O to outscore opponents in scoring fests, like we are this year.


October 14th, 2010 at 10:13 AM ^

that this is a solution.  Carr more or less tried this with Panter, who as mentioned above was a four star and he barely saw the field and didn't do much with his time on it.  I'm not sure that even if we get a couple of JUCO guys (Moore excepted) that it will make any difference.  Better off using those schollies on guys who can contribute in a couple of years and hope upper class Fitzgerald, Demens, and Bell (is he going to be a redshirt soph next year?) can improve on what we have seen this year, which isnt so farfectched any idea.


October 14th, 2010 at 10:31 AM ^

........, even if they could qualify academically for UM, is something that doesn't need to be done. Even if UM could plug someone in this year like a Greg Jones, our D wouldn't be noticeably better than it is. Why is this, you ask? Because one LB won't fix the inexperience in the secondary. One LB won't give us the other space eater needed on the DL to be successful in a 3-man front.

On the one hand, I can see the point about the D needing to get much better to utilize the gift of Denard for a championship run. On the other, I think people are hitting the panic button too early.

Next year, we will have an experienced, although still young, secondary, including having another guy back who would have started this year and been our best player there. We will have Martin, RVB, Roh back, along with Black, hopefully a better Campbell, and Ash to make our DL better. This is why, even if we lose a little now putting in Demens or JB Fitz at LB, we need to do it so they can gain meaningful experience. I don't think we will field a top ten caliber defense next year, but they should be better than average.

Experience matters. We have talented kids on the defense, but much like Denard last year, they are limited in what they can do because instead of reacting instinctually, they think too much. A year's experience, along with an entire year of training will give them the edge that Denard has on O this year.


October 14th, 2010 at 11:06 AM ^

This JUCO talk is crazy. People don't even know what the problem is I guess. It's fundamentals on D, which goes back to coaching. Every freaking time.  We are LAST in the B10,  almost in FBS and thats not a place a good coach would be in even with sub-par personnel. 

OK. Lets just say everyone agrees our coaches aren't, let's say, good. Let's say average, which is a stretch. They are gonna bring in JUCOs who aren't gonna be in the upper percentile and they are gonna fast track them to start next year? And succeed?  Not gonna happen.  I'm not gonna even go into character issues of JUCOs.

We have good, young, dedicated , success-starved kids on our defensive roster. They are not being coached up to their potential. Their potential is much better than last in the FBS. This is an outrage. GERG has got to go. Bring in a PROVEN colege DC and pay him whatever it takes. We have enough young kids on D that would soak up good coaching like a sponge.

Look at GERGs track record. His defenses never really got better the longer he was there. If anything they got worse. I raised this point before season started and was laughed at- - Super Bowl rings, yada yada, Texas blah, blah.  It's not working. Never really has for him.  His defenses didn't get better. They got worse. We are in that same pattern here right now. IHow long does it need to play out?


October 14th, 2010 at 11:08 AM ^

.....that even a guy like Pellini would have good success with our D, given the personnel he would have to deal with. A very young, very inexperienced secondary makes the LB's job harder, particularly when the DC is using them to make up for that deficiency. Don't forget that we lost one semi-shutdown corner to a stupid, ill-advised career move and another CB/S, who could have started on quite a few of the better teams, to an injury that hurt our D immensely. Without those two things happening, our secondary becomes more experienced, allowing the LB's to play more for the run and having less pressure placed on them. We certainly wouldn't be a top-flite D, but it would be miles better than it is right now, and no one would be talking about GERG failing.

Next year I fully expect our D to help us win games by keeping opponents from scoring, instead of acting more like a speedbump for the other teams' O's.


October 14th, 2010 at 11:35 AM ^

What is crazy is the notion M recruits D-1 scholarhip athletes who need to be taught fundamentals. Some need to grow, others need to learn high level techniques, and all need to learn the system. Fundamentals, i.e. -- blocking, tackling, ball security, etc., are things these players should have mastered if they are D-1 sholarship athletes. It is hard to imagine the coaches deciding to give a high school kid an offer knowing that he does not know how to tackle.


October 14th, 2010 at 1:58 PM ^

alot of d1 scholarship athletes are that because of athletic ability.  Sure they have some technique but they learn most of it in college.  Look at Will Campbell who in HS just out powered someone and has been working on weight/technique since arriving here.  Or Roh after he committed he went through special training to learn new techniques before he came in to Michigan.  Basically most D-1 Highschool players out athlete who ever they are going against.


October 14th, 2010 at 11:29 AM ^

Credits transferring to M is the first half of the problem.  The second half is NCAA regulations now in place stating that student-athletes must have completed a certain percentage of the degree at the start of each academic year (fall semester).  I believe the regulations for any third year student-athlete are:
- 1.80 minimum GPA
- Declare major
- 40% of declared major completed (can include general ed. requirements towards graduation.

There are some more requirements but they don't necessarily pertain to the "career" of a student-athletes and his/her academics.  This is the big problem.  If JUCO Player X has 60 credits at Junior College Y and only 30 of those credits transfer to UofM then he/she is nowhere near the necessary 40% of declared major completed.

Arsenal Fan

October 14th, 2010 at 12:00 PM ^

I am new to mgoblog, but have followed it for years.  just wondering if anyone has heard anything about that Miles Shuler out of New Jersey.  He is listed as an athlete, but seems like he has some good speed and he even listed us in an the article on rivals about him going to the AA game.  Any chance we land him?


October 14th, 2010 at 12:30 PM ^

Michigan can get opportunities at guys they wouldn't have had before through the JUCO path. The Byron Moore interview with Tom last week is an example. An elite USC recruit from Socal that we probably wouldn't have had a prayer with in the first place. Now USC is having trouble, he is in JUCO and has been contacted by Michigan. Door is open. So that is one type of kid.

Also, a school can't be everywhere recruiting every player. They might have a list of guys that they liked a lot but thought it was a waste of resources to go after.  Then say a kid soured on his  prior committment and reopened things during the year away. Or their original school might have done the same.   A player you might not have offered before for whatever reason (numbers of available scholarships being one), you now have a shot with.

You all make good points about the academics.  Seems like we could focus recruiting on that pool, and be out front making sure kids know what it will take during junior college to get qualified at Michigan.  That is if we wanted to make that a route we go regularly.



October 14th, 2010 at 8:17 PM ^

To give you an example of how stupid Ann Arbor's admission policies are listen to this.  I went to U of M-Dearborn for 2 years after high school.  It is a freaking satellite campus of Ann Arbor and I had around 60 credits I wanted to transfer.

They fought me tooth and nail on about 15 of the credits even though it was the same university system.  The classes they fought me on were legit classes (statistics, pol. sci., biology).  I had to write a letter explaining why each class should transfer and offer a syllabus for each one.

It was so ridiculous that Ann Arbor fought so hard to not accept credits from within their own school system.  End of story is that they finally accepted my classes.


October 14th, 2010 at 9:55 PM ^

At one point this thread really had some potential.
If no juco credits transfer than it doesn't really matter why the former usc player is there bc he won't be admitted at m.