Beaver Aftermath

Submitted by Brian on December 22nd, 2008 at 8:27 AM

This was going to be a part of Monday Recruitin' but deserves its own post.

So: we're down to one quarterback commit. Rodriguez has a month or so to latch on to another one, though, and a number of attractive targets:

Tajh Boyd

tajh-boyd

VA QB Tajh Boyd originally committed to West Virginia, but decommitted during WVU's season, probably right after he saw the Bill Stewart Face. He then committed to Tennessee only for Lane Kiffin to say "seeya" as soon as he took the helm. Since he got back on the market he visited Ohio State, generating strong rumors of a future commitment, and plans on visiting Oregon.

Can Michigan get in on a guy they were never really involved with in the first place? They'll certainly try. It might not matter much; ironically given the circumstances of his Tennessee situation, Boyd decommitted WVU in search of a place that would throw the ball more and (hypothetically) better prepare him for the NFL. Can Rodriguez convince him he's interested in throwing the ball more? You'd think so given that his other two quarterbacks are Threet and Forcier, but public perception is hard to change.

Damage to the class if M picks him up: Negative. Boyd his higher rated by everyone.
Chance M picks him up: Seems a long shot at this point. M can really sell opportunity here, though.

Eugene Smith

FL QB Eugene Smith is currently committed to West Virginia, so you know he must like the offense. He was on the board for a long time even after the Beaver/Newsome commits, and then still remained on the board after the Newsome/Forcier swap. He's got a longstanding relationship with the Michigan staff—I believe Calvin Magee is the main guy—and kind-of sort-of seemed to be favoring Michigan at points despite the scholarship situation. Then he committed to WVU a month ago.

Could he be open? Well, yes. Smith told a West Virginia radio program this when he announced his commitment:

I don't want to say I'm shutting the door completely. It will all come in due time. Wait till things get settled down and get my grades.

If Smith's door remains open and the vibe he gave off earlier is any indication… well, it's not like that state's opinion of Michigan could get any worse. One possible hindrance: FL WR Steadman Bailey—briefly a Michigan recruit in the summer—is also a WVU commit. But, uh, we've got a spot at outside WR, kid.

This is 100% speculation, but I got a weird Forcier-like feeling during Smith's recruitment; he obviously liked Michigan quite a bit. If he liked it as much as Forcier he would have leapt on an offer earlier, so this is no slam dunk. Still… I would not be surprised if Smith popped up on the radar again and took a visit.

Damage to the class if M picks him up: also negative. Smith is higher rated by everyone, too.
Chance M picks him up: Extremely strong for a guy currently committed to another school, or "not very good at all but we've got a shot." If Smith decides to take a visit I think we've got a pretty solid chance.

Raymond Cotton

MD QB Raymond Cotton is an Auburn decommit mighty displeased by the Chizik hire. Michigan was not involved with him before his commitment, but, hey, I just broke up with my girlfriend what a coincidence you just broke up with your boyfriend do you want to grind on the dance floor here sign this it's a LOI.

Problem:

Four-star quarterback lists Ole Miss on top

That's the headline of a Rivals article in the aftermath of his decommit, albeit one written a couple days before the Atomic Beaver detonated. Arkansas and Southern Miss are also up high; this guy has the geographical preferences of a guy from Georgia, not Maryland.

Damage to the class if M picks him up: Not insignificant but minor. Cotton's a guy on the three/four star edge and Beaver was generally better regarded. He's good enough to be a viable option, though.
Chance M picks him up: No idea. He's floating out there and Michigan's got an attractive spot open, but he seems set on the SEC.

Denard Robinson

FL QB Denard Robinson is current uncommitted and may be more of an athlete recruit than a quarterback. Florida and Georgia are both competing for his services but plan to bring him in as a WR/DB and I know you're thinking "ack Feagin can't throw" right now but Robinson is on another level as a recruit. He's a member of the Rivals 250, their second-fastest "athlete" prospect, a member of the ESPN 150

Robinson and ATH Brandon McGee could be twins in this class as both are about 5'11, very athletic, quick and actually very accomplished passers, but it will take the right offense and coaching staff to commit to them as QB's as opposed to making the move to corner or wide receiver.

…and a four-star cornerback to Scout.

Florida has long been rumored the leader, and the Gators have offered him at quarterback. How honest is that QB offer? Eh… fairly legit, actually. Though Florida already has a QB commit in this class they did not take a QB last year and one of the two they took in 2006, Cameron Newton, is in hot water for stealing (and chucking) some kid's laptop.

Robinson really wants that QB shot and a early playing time. He's serious enough about both that he plans on visiting UCF in January; he will also visit Michigan. West Virginia is another candidate.

Damage to the class if M picks him up: Minimal. Robinson's 6-foot tops and probably not even that so is less of a true QB prospect than Beaver, but a QB offer from Florida is a QB offer from Florida is a QB offer from Florida.
Chance M picks him up: Not good; Florida seems the likely destination. One positive: he's taken his official to Florida and came back uncommitted.

Others

Before you ask: yes, TX QB Tyrik Rollison is a top-100 recruit to Rivals and is a dual threat quarterback floating around uncommitted—you may remember him as the QB who was Not Beaver in the Beaver game televised on ESPN2 this fall—but at last update he had an offer from Colorado State and maybe Baylor and definitely not Oklahoma State. What does this say? It says "very unlikely to qualify" in big flashing red letters. I'm hoping that's not the case and Michigan gets involved; that doesn't seem probable.

There are a couple of uncommitted guys listed as dual threat quarterbacks in the Big Ten area: Dolapo Macarthy is from Merrillville, Indiana, and has an Iowa offer; Darren Jones is from Illinois and has offers from Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin. Both are three stars.

Well?

None of the four guys listed above seems likely. The chances any of the four commits to Michigan are below 50%, and probably below 35%. Then you're vaguely hoping Michigan gets involved with a guy from Texas who may not qualify or down to three star sorts. I'd take a three star sort, but let's not kid ourselves: this decommit is likely to significantly downgrade the results at the most important position in the class.

Comments

myrtlebeachmai…

December 22nd, 2008 at 8:59 AM ^

what if we actually do get Tajh or Eugene? I have to admit that the whole Michigan community (at least 95%) had such man-love for Tate, that we largely wrote off Beaver, at least while he was committed. (I should probably follow that sentence with "No homo" since it seems likely that any time someone talks about "man-love" and "writing off beaver" in the same sentence, questions will follow.)

We all largely endorsed Tate as the "savior". What happens if a guy higher rated comes into the fold? I'm curious to see if we all shift to a "may the best man win" sentiment, or if we will still love Tate and his pro-Michigan, "This offense is made for me" reputation. After all the Tate-love, I find it hard to believe we'd go too crazy over anyone else.

**Yes, I do realize that we, as a blog, have no actual impact in the decision of who starts at QB (as I'm sure someone would have pointed at that it doesn't matter what we think).

jg2112

December 22nd, 2008 at 9:36 AM ^

If another guy comes in, great. If not, well, we do know that Threet, Forcier and Sheridan want to be at Michigan, and Feagin and Cone are both there next year as well. That's five QBs for the 2009 season. My hope for next year is that Threet improves so much over the offseason, heals up and gets stronger so that Forcier can redshirt. Frankly, "the whole Michigan community" should hope that Threet is the 2009 answer so that Forcier doesn't have to play as a true freshman and get killed by a Wisconsin defensive lineman.

slblue

December 22nd, 2008 at 9:39 AM ^

The premise of this post seems to be that the star rating has great predictive value and if Michigan does not secure another highly touted quarterback (four star) then the team will be negatively impacted. I humbly submit that this is a false premise. As someone who has been banished to the wilderness of Missouri, I have watched a little coveted QB play the last four years for Mizzou. He was passed over by virtually all of the big programs. A mere "three star" and a short kid to boot, Chase Daniel is now in the books as perhaps the greatest QB in the history of the University of Missouri, and was a game or two away from a Heisman. My point is that, again, the Beaver embroglio is a bit of a tempest in a teapot. With the people Michigan has NOW, the University can compete at QB in 2009. The bigger concern should be securing great personnel at defensive positions. I believe we have a solid class there already, but could certainly benefit at the LB and DT positions. And, along the way, if a three (or four) star recruit at QB/Ath wants to compete for a shot at the QB job, great. But if not, all is far from being lost.

oriental andrew

December 22nd, 2008 at 9:51 AM ^

there are many players who play well above or below their guru ratings. but research* has shown that a greater percentage of 4 and 5 star players succeed than 3 star players. that doesn't preclude 3 star players from becoming AAs and top draft picks (wasn't Braylon a 3 star coming out of high school?). perhaps UM finds a little-heralded diamond in the rough or whatever, but odds are typically better with the more highly rated guru-approved types.

*I'm pretty sure SMQ and, probably, Brian looked at historical rankings and figured how many of those players were all-americans, drafted, whatever.

Erik_in_Dayton

December 22nd, 2008 at 9:43 AM ^

He all but committed to OSU during a recent visit. He said he didn't mind coming in behind Pryor b/c he could redshirt and put two years between them...I get this from an OSU fan/friend of mine who follows OSU recruiting closely.

papabear16

December 22nd, 2008 at 10:08 AM ^

Forcier = Harbaugh.

That's not a statement, it's a prayer. At this point, I really hope Forcier ends up being as good as well think he can be. Particularly for QBs, I 1) believe in star ratings generally and 2) know that there are many 4-star sorts who flame out. Forcier could be one. So, I'd prefer to at least start stockpiling for the next year or two, let the competition losers transfer, and then start taking a top kid every year or two to keep the pipeline strong.

My point is that we needed Beaver, and if we don't have him, we need someone of similar skill. Look, I know Chase Daniel happens, but not often. We need top talent to develop to increase our odds of having a great QB. Sure, maybe Forcier is a beast and we're set, or Threet develops and we're set. But let's play the odds and get another guy.

rdlwolverine

December 22nd, 2008 at 10:39 AM ^

The reason Cotton has geographical preferences of someone from Georgia rather than Maryland, is that he is from Alabama. He was at Mobile Faith Academy until his dad was transferred by the military to Maryland. So he only spent his senior year in Maryland.

Koyote

December 22nd, 2008 at 10:43 AM ^

If there is any football staff in America that I would trust finding a "diamond in the rough" it has to be Michigan. After all that is what they had to do in order to survive at West Virginia.

That being said I would rather them reel in a superstar kind of guy who turns out to be awesome(I'm looking at you Mr. Boyd or Mr. Smith or Mr. Robinson) to help convince other guys to stay committed. But if we ultimately have to go with an unheralded 3 star Pat White or Chase Daniels type of guy I am also cool with that. Either way we need a second QB in this class, just in case Forcier gets sat on by some buckeye, badger or sparty.

AC1997

December 22nd, 2008 at 1:00 PM ^

I was as frustrated as anyone over how the Beaver de-commit played out. Our QB depth chart was in shambles when Carr left and RR has yet to fill it to Division-1 levels. The Forcier-Beaver pair was going to do that for us. And now I'm seriously worried about QB in 2009-2010.

That being said, I was always skeptical that two top-20 quarterbacks would sign the same year with the same school. This position gets more and more pampered every year with all of the camps, the people begging for them to sign, the kids thinking they are destined for Canton before they suit up in college. I found it pleasantly surprising that Michigan could get two competitive, highly ranked kids to sign in the same class and basically agree to compete with each other the next four years. Looking at it that way, it shouldn't be a shock to us that Beaver chickened out and went to Tulsa where he can be "the man".

For that reason, I think we're going to sign a 3-star type for the second QB in this class.....and I think I'm content with that. Don't get me wrong, I'd love all the stud QB's we can sign, but I think if you take Forcier and a project this season you're more likely to sign a stud next year and spread out the eligibility of your QB depth chart.

Now, the "project" QB we take can't be of Sheridan or Feagin quality - they have to be able to throw the ball. And at this point I would still keep Feagin as a QB in spring practice and maybe the fall. If our depth chart fills up by then he can move positions later. It isn't like we need him on the slot WR depth chart next year.

Magnus

December 22nd, 2008 at 1:30 PM ^

I think it also helps that kids are seeing a lot of guys heading to the NFL from less respected conferences. Even guys from smaller schools have televised games, SportsCenter's top plays, etc. to get them exposure.

If you go to a big school, you're almost guaranteed to get a shot at the NFL. But if you go to a smaller school, you still have a chance.

I wonder what the history is of top QB's from the same class going to one school. I doubt it happens very often. This is why it also didn't surprise me that Beaver chose to go elsewhere.