Dear Diary Takes Core Requirements

Submitted by Seth on May 9th, 2011 at 8:33 PM

thinghokeispointingat  Head coach Brady Hoke talks to the team before the Michigan Spring Football Game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich. on April 16, 2011. Angela J. Cesere |

Hoke's Glorious Kingdom, Which is His / Angela Cesere|

Dear Diary,

April in the D is overrated, but I can't complain about May in Michigan. As I write this I'm sunburned from the year's first sail, half-comatose from the first grilled burger, and spamming F5 on the MGoBlog home page so I don't miss another victorious recruiting battle. This being Michigan of course the week came with one rain storm, one frost, and two fuuuuuuuuuuu's, but today the sun is shining, the uber alleles are replicating, the warring has ended, and general sentiment feels our winter of discontent can be made glorious by this son of Hoke.

Last week's Diary of the Week made the state of Michigan football analogous to morning; maybe spring's more like it.

The week has also seen a few hands take their turns at analyzing recruiting rankings. Before they came out I was goofing with my own attempt at such but…yeah, lots of work, that. What I do have however is a comprehensive Big Ten recruiting database started. First comparable,

Percentage of recruits from in-state from 2002-2011:

School In-State Total
Ohio State 60.29% 204
Illinois 37.96% 245
Penn State 34.85% 198
Michigan State 34.03% 238
Wisconsin 31.25% 224
Michigan 26.51% 215
Indiana 26.34% 224
Minnesota 24.28% 243
Iowa 22.62% 221
Northwestern 22.04% 186
Purdue 16.81% 232
Total 30.49% 2430

Some of these are thrown off by the few schools that sign a substantial amount of JUCOs (Minnesota, Purdue, MSU) but if you pull them it doesn't change much of anything above.

Percent of players from source:

School H.S. JUCO PREP Players
Minnesota 86.01% 12.76% 1.23% 243
Purdue 87.93% 11.64% 0.43% 232
Michigan State 86.97% 10.08% 2.94% 238
Illinois 93.06% 4.49% 2.45% 245
Indiana 95.54% 4.02% 0.45% 224
Iowa 95.93% 3.17% 0.90% 221
Penn State 95.45% 2.02% 2.53% 198
Michigan 98.14% 1.40% 0.47% 215
Wisconsin 98.21% 1.34% 0.45% 224
Northwestern 98.92% 0.54% 0.54% 186
Ohio State 99.02% 0.49% 0.49% 204
Total 93.83% 4.98% 1.19% 2430

Are you surprised? The Ohio State homegrown number really stands out. What struck me was that the numbers are so low across the conference. This makes sense if you think about the relative populations of these states, kind of. Less populous Iowa had to leave the corn fields, while Ohio State can run a McKinley-style front porch recruiting campaign. What it doesn't gel with are the general perceptions of teams that "win with homegrown talent." Ohio State can say that but Wisconsin – even after dominating on the home front – still must travel abroad for most of its players.

Like this but with free cars

As for Michigan State, their hypothesis is that John L. Smith went out of state while Dantonio "got it." Let's test that:

  • JLS (2003-'06): 23.36% recruits from Michigan (M: 27.16% in that time)
  • Dantonio (2007-'11): 44.55% recruits from Michigan (M 21.24% in that time)

Seems to be right. The classes:

Year: Coach In-State Players Coach In-State Players
2002 Williams* 33.33% 21 Carr 52.38% 21
2003 Williams*/JLS 19.05% 21 Carr 35.29% 17
2004 Smith 25.81% 31 Carr 27.27% 22
2005 Smith 22.22% 27 Carr 26.09% 23
2006 Smith 25.00% 28 Carr 21.05% 19
2007 Dantonio 34.78% 23 Carr 25.00% 20
2008 Dantonio 61.90% 21 Carr/RR** 20.83% 24
2009 Dantonio 52.17% 23 RR 18.18% 22
2010 Dantonio 50.00% 22 RR 14.81% 27
2011 Dantonio 23.81% 21 RR/Hoke 30.00% 20

* Morris Watts was interim H.C. for the last three games of '02 after Bobby Williams was fired. JLS arrived right after the bowls. The '03 class was mostly Bobby's.

** The Michigan recruiting was mostly done by Carr; Rodriguez added five players, all from out-of-state.

There's nothing substantially different about Michigan from late-Carr to RR, except the huge in-state recruiting year in '02. If there was a "he cares" meme going up it was based on disparity. Dantonio's 2011 class looks like it went "national" but really he moved even more heavily into Ohio. So let's see that:

Percent of Recruits from Any Big Ten State:

School 2002-'05 2006-'08 2009-'11 Total
Ohio State 78.05% 69.09% 76.12% 75.00%
Indiana 58.76% 70.49% 80.30% 68.30%
Wisconsin 63.04% 62.69% 72.31% 65.63%
Michigan State 54.00% 65.28% 80.30% 64.71%
Illinois 65.96% 62.82% 52.05% 60.82%
Michigan 65.06% 49.21% 60.87% 59.07%
Iowa 54.02% 58.82% 62.12% 57.92%
Northwestern 48.72% 58.93% 51.92% 52.69%
Minnesota 62.24% 46.67% 44.29% 52.26%
Penn State 51.95% 45.76% 43.55% 47.47%
Purdue 51.96% 36.62% 33.90% 42.67%
Total 59.39% 56.69% 60.14% 58.81%

And Michigan's regional recruiting by year (with how M finished the previous season):

Year In-Region Previous Year's Result
2002 85.71% 8-4 / 6-2, lost 45-17 to Tennessee in Citrus Bowl
2003 58.82% 10-3 / 6-2, def. Florida 38-30 in Outback Bowl
2004 59.09% 10-3 / 7-1. lost 28-14 to USC in Rose Bowl
2005 56.52% 9-3 / 7-1, lost 38-37 to Texas in Rose Bowl
2006 52.63% 7-5 / 5-3, lost 32-28 to Nebraska in Alamo Bowl
2007 40.00% 11-2 / 7-1, lost 32-18 to USC in Rose Bowl
2008 54.17% 9-4 / 6-2, def. Florida 41-35 in Citrus Bowl, New Coach
2009 40.91% 3-9 / 2-6, no bowl.
2010 70.37% 5-7 / 1-7, no bowl.
2011 70.00% 7-6 / 3-5, lost 52-14 to Miss. St in Gator Bowl, New Coach

Recruiting is a perception game, not just numbers, but you can clearly see how perception has affected Michigan's out-of-state recruiting. However the top chart seems to equate winning periods with success and vice versa. Look at Purdue in the Orton/Kirsch era as opposed to after. See Minnesota under Mason as opposed to KILL FIGHT WIN! See the Dantonio Effect at MSU. But I don't think you can take this and declare "Big Ten recruiting wins championships." Take Indiana: they got over 40% from elsewhere when they sucked in the early 2000s, and just 20% from elsewhere today.


Year In-Region Coach
2002 47.62% DiNardo
2003 48.00% DiNardo
2004 73.08% DiNardo
2005 64.00% Hoeppner
2006 71.43% Hoeppner
2007 70.00% Lynch
2008 70.00% Lynch
2009 94.74% Lynch
2010 76.00% Lynch
2011 72.73% Lynch

What you see is two years of DiNardo riding post-Randel El fame until his teams were so bad the XFL wouldn't take him back had they still existed. Indiana recruits locally because few people outside of the footprint would consider going to Indiana when they can sign with a Mid-Major and win some football games once in awhile. Ohio's in-region numbers are driven by their ridiculous in-state rate. Penn State's is low because they exist outside the Midwest and use Maryland, Jersey, and the D.C. area like we use Ohio. All this chart really shows, without knowing the context for each team, is possible evidence of strategy:

  • Looks like they took it outside: Zook, Brewster, JLS, Rodriguez?
  • Looks like they focused inside: Dantonio, Tressel

The evidence isn't strong enough to claim either as fact. So one last chart:

Percent of Big Ten-Bound In-State Recruits Who Chose School X: (numbers are for that school's own state):

School 2002-'05 2006-'08 2009-'11 Total
Iowa 92.00% 90.91% 89.47% 90.91%
Wisconsin 78.38% 73.08% 75.00% 72.16%
Minnesota 71.79% 54.84% 77.78% 67.05%
Indiana 32.81% 43.75% 59.38% 44.36%
Penn State 45.90% 43.48% 40.38% 43.40%
Michigan State 27.17% 44.44% 40.58% 36.16%
Illinois 38.39% 32.14% 34.33% 35.36%
Ohio State 36.08% 25.66% 26.62% 30.00%
Purdue 40.63% 31.25% 15.63% 29.32%
Michigan 31.52% 22.22% 20.29% 25.45%
Northwestern 14.29% 16.67% 16.42% 15.59%

Here strategies become slightly apparent. Ferentz may fill his roster with non-Iowans but only after he makes sure virtually every Iowan who can play for a Big Ten team will play for his. Wisconsin and Minnesota also stand out for kspartanseeping talent home. Most of the Minnesotans who weren't Gophers were Badgers. Of the 28% of Big Ten cheeseheads who don't end up at Wisconsin, 9% went to rival and neighbor Minnesota, 6% went to Indiana, which probably means they didn't have an offer, and 5% went to Northwestern, which is close to Wis. population centers and a better school and also probably a place for kids Wisconsin didn't want.

Indiana takes what it can. Penn State accesses the Atlantic States but can't protect its West from hemorrhaging talent all around the conference. Michigan State since '06 is heavy into the 3-stars Michigan didn't want (and the 4- and 5-stars Michigan did want). Ohio State and Illinois are homebodies because they are state schools for very populous states. Purdue and Northwestern draw from all over, though the Boilermakers have seemingly shifted away from bothering with their home state in favor of being players in Chicagoland and all around the conference.

Then there's Michigan. Big school in a shared state, we get only a quarter of the in-state talent. It's apparent from this why it's so important to compete in Ohio and around the country: the presence of a sibling makes the Iowa/Wisconsin home-first strategy impractical. I leave the rest of the conclusions to you; on to the diaries.


geo1 geo2 geo3

Whatever your boss wants you to be doing right now, it can wait while you check out this Diary of the Week-winning set of recruiting maps, updated by Rescue_Dawn. This time he broke up the maps into commits, (red), Offense offers (maize) and Defense offers (blue). The bigger the circle, the higher profile the recruit according to the services. It went up before Standifer got his offer but otherwise it's up to date.

But wait, there's more: Thanks to Deep Under Cover you can now contribute to a Google version of this, a sort of Google Wiki Mappy Thing (Internet, it's time for new words; we used up your words):


It is an empty slate, so get cracking.


Bumped from the boards to the diaries, and then from there to the front page this week was Gopherine's piece on Recruiting Bias and Accuracy, who got the Black Heart Gold Pants guy to pony up the data from the recruiting to NFL study* to check out whether under-scouted players outperformed their recruiting rankings.

Of course, the chart doesn't disprove my mildly paranoid belief that Midwesterners are consistently being slighted by the jerks on the coasts, so let's call this a win.

Note that the Midwestern 5 star recruits underperform the mean. This has no impact on the claim (5 star recruits can't be underrated), but it's interesting nonetheless. Really small samples for 5 stars is all the explanation I need.



* UpUpDownDown said something about Iowa Running Back Hating God visiting him in the night with a Walkman and Van Halen?



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pac-12-logo: cash (1)cash (1)cash (1)cash (1)cash (1)cash (1)

emu: Dammit. by Zone Left.

Classical Philosophy

Plato_Republic_1713I'm more an old comedy man myself, but even Philosopher Kings are down for puffin' up the pillows, breaking out the good Grechetto, and getting into a good ol' fashioned seminar on Why do we watch football? Plato, according to WatersDemos:

Football is our way of observing our own ideal cities in speech.  It engages all three elements of the soul, and teaches us that only proper ordering of the soul can lead to success.  In this case, the reason element is represented by the head coach, who (hopefully) is akin to a football philosopher king.  Second, you have the courageous/spirited element, i.e., the players, who hopefully are akin to football warriors.  Finally, you have the desire element, represented by the fans, whose generally unrealistic and limitless demands really belong on the bottom of this pyramid (with some exceptions of course).

Read, and become a better man for it.


Eye of the Tiger read some tea leaves and described four plausible scenarios for the 2011 season, revealing the fears and hopes of this great unknown.

  • 10-2: A weakened Big Ten sees Michigan return to the Rose Bowl, though he admits this is unlikely.
  • 9-3/8-4: Progressive improvement over the season, maybe with a win over reeling Buckeyes?
  • 7-5/6-6: A different kind of mediocrity, which is one or two injuries to the O-line away.
  • 5-7 or worse: It takes years to build up from one of the worst defenses in the country, but ruining one of the best offenses can happen much faster.

Hi Mom!

My Mom is the only other family member to go to Michigan. On State week she puts on maize and blue and ribs my MSU siblings about had they only studied harder. Without her I never would have pursued my career, gone to my school, met my friends or my wife. She has read (and unsolicitedly copy edited) almost anything I've ever written. In the words of Mr. Slocum: i love her i think she da realest bitch alive.



May 9th, 2011 at 9:17 PM ^

But if you don't control your state regularly, you will be limited in what you can do. (Necessary caveat that I'm not saying Michigan has been in this position under any regime; it applies more to MSU, really). Even OSU and PSU have had "down" periods when they can't control their top instate talent. The Cooper years also coincided with some of the very best players leaving the state for Michigan, and when the FIRE JOEPA talk was the biggest, and PSU was at their lowest points, they were bleeding a lot of talent outside the State too.


May 9th, 2011 at 9:18 PM ^

62% of Sparty's 2008 recruiting class came from the state of Michigan?  The same class that is 3-0 vs us AND won 11 games in 2010?  What the hell is that all about?

Oh, and yo momma ain't no beotch.


May 9th, 2011 at 10:19 PM ^

but hate that the sparty might liken themselves to it. There is no 300 in E. Lansing. Leonitis inspires, Jailtonio does not. The King of Sparta had integrity, very few sparty's do. And don't let me pass up a chance to remark about how bad the red cedar stinks.


May 9th, 2011 at 10:15 PM ^

that made reading this blog all the more real and enjoyable. Yeah, my Mom was a bitch, and a highly educated woman. Mom and Dad mastered at UM, and they perpetuated a Michigan tradition. Thank God. UM rocks


May 10th, 2011 at 11:32 AM ^

Although I don't get the picking on Eastern exclusively part of this.  there are other schools in the same predicament as Eastern.  But your graphic sums it up pretty well and I think that it is going to get much worse as the Big 12 gets their own TV deal.


May 9th, 2011 at 10:54 PM ^

and Van Halen."
<br>Read this as VanHaren then checked the spelling and wondered "who the hell is van halen?"
<br>clearly,by some people's standards, I spend too much time on this site.


May 9th, 2011 at 11:07 PM ^

.....and thanks for the kudos on the maps.  If you ever want some custom maps in the future let me know, but I'll probably be updating those after we get another 2 or 3 commits. 

All Aboard

May 10th, 2011 at 3:36 AM ^

Safe and solid in-state recruits ("easy" if that's what you'd like to call them) allow for the big push for top-end talent in places like CA, TX and FL, etc. I think it could truly be as simple as that.


May 10th, 2011 at 9:48 AM ^

...that diaries are starting to make a comeback. There are a few factors that separate this blog from others, and the proliferation of well written diaries is clearly one.


May 10th, 2011 at 7:33 PM ^

is partly due to not winning games and partly due to being in a state that isn't loaded with players or talent.

Indiana isn't that big, population-wise: although it's the 15th-largest state, it's the median Big Ten state (thanks, Nebraska!), and the four states above it have at least 50% more people. In addition, many people here apparently play some other sport - this you may have noticed - and thus higher-level talent is not as prevalent in football as it might be in other sports. Although a comprehensive listing of high school recruits isn't easily available, USA Today helpfully gathered information on every player drafted by the NFL from 1988 through 2008. Players from Indiana high schools made up 70 of the 6,414 selections.*

Purdue landed 12 of those 70, ahead of Indiana (9) and Illinois (8) ... looking at Notre Dame (5), Michigan (3), and Ohio State (1), it seems to me that there obviously isn't much talent here or a) it would have gone to South Bend pre-collapse and b) other Big Ten schools would be saying nom-nom-nom along the interstates that pass this way. They don't, so there isn't much here.

Thus, Purdue looked out-of-state to be competitive when they could (and to fill roster spots now when they're not so competitive), while Indiana recruits more in-state players because you might as well not flush recruiting dollars down the drain. (I'd guess the reverse was true in the late '80s.)

Interesting footnote: Boston College 3, California 1, Northwestern 2, Vanderbilt 2, Yale 1. Along with Michigan's 3, that's nearly 20% of the in-state talent heading to quality out-of-state schools ... Purdue's reputation is good, but then I didn't want to go to an in-state school either. (My dad made me. Blah blah cost blah blah money.)


* I know NFL talent isn't the same as recruited talent, but it's the closest thing I could find in large quantities.


May 11th, 2011 at 9:23 AM ^

I figured Purdue too is kind of a regional school, not an "Indiana" school. They're known for their engineering, and lots of kids around the Midwest look at Purdue as one of their top schools. Plus like Notre Dame they can access the Chicagoland market.

Maybe the Boilermakers are just the "big brother" in that state.


May 12th, 2011 at 11:14 AM ^

ever since Tiller and Tressell ganged up on RR with the snake oil comments, Tiller's claims regarding the alleged 'gentlemans' agreement on non-tampering with verbal commits, and now with little cry-baby Danny Hope...