Hello: Carvin Johnson

Submitted by Tim on November 3rd, 2009 at 8:40 PM

Right. Michigan gains commitment from defensive back. There was much rejoicing? We'll find out after the informative update.

OK, now that I've had time to collect my thoughts, Michigan has gained a commitment from Louisiana Safety Carvin Johnson. Time for the...

Informative Update?

Yes, informative update. I thought Brian was the only one around here with a bolded alter ego though.

He's not.

Uh, OK. On to the update.



Scout Rivals ESPN
NR S NR DB Not in Database

As you can see, Johnson is a COMPLETE STUD that the recruiting services ABSOLUTELY LOVE and have even HEARD OF. One of the few snippets out there on him comes from his coach, as shared by Josh Helmholdt in the Free Press:

Johnson is not even ranked on Rivals.com and his film has not made its way around the nation. Rummel coach Jay Roth said Johnson is a player who is effective in both pass coverage and run support.

“He’s a 6-1, 195-pound safety who is very aggressive and physical,” Roth said.

You could say that about pretty much any safety, even guys that have profiles on all three recruiting services! On a more serious note, he's NewOrleans.com's #48 player in the state of Louisiana (Drew Dileo is #46).

Johnson is a two-sport starter, serving as an outfielder on the Raiders baseball team. Football is clearly his best sport. "He's a fierce hitter. He has great hands and good instincts for the ball," said Rummel Head Coach Jay Roth.

Nice backhanded complement about the kid's baseball ability. I can just tell we all need more Jay Roth in our lives:

The Raider defense, led by defensive lineman Myles O' Brien, linebackers Chris Randle and Phil Helmstetter and safety Carvin Johnson, has been superb, according to Roth. "Our defense is the reason we are 5-0. The defensive coaches and players carry a certain swagger. They practice hard, study film and they are experienced."

Hooray. He was also the single reason NewOrleans.com saw fit to rank his school in its preseason top 10.

10) RUMMEL--Carvin Johnson is a stud on defense and on punt returns

So, yeah, he's probably the most important player on a good team (9-0 on the season, only allowing 8.3 points per game to opponents). That probably means at least 3 stars when the dust settles.


The Helmholdt article again comes in handy:

Michigan was one of the first to recognize Johnson’s talents. “It was early on in the spring that they offered me,” Johnson reported. “They say I fit pretty well in their defense. If I were to go there, I would get a chance to play early on..." Besides U-M, Johnson has received scholarship offers from Minnesota, Utah, Tulane and Tulsa.

The timing on the Michigan offer is odd, considering most had never heard of the guy until his official visit for the Penn State game. He may be a true sleeper, since the Wolverines thought him offer-worthy so long ago, but no other suitors have come a-callin'. For the record, his Rivals profile also lists offers from Louisiana Tech and Northern Illinois.


Recruits with no profiles are typically pretty difficult to find stats on. However, Coach Roth comes through for us again:

Carvin Johnson has done everything we could possibly ask for--help at wide receiver on offense, stars at defensive back and has returned three punts for touchdowns.

The rest of the information comes in snippets like this...

After a Carvin Johnson interception,

...from various game stories. His full season stats should take a while to dig up and compile, but he has at least 3 interceptions on the year, as well.


The NewOrleans.com article pegs him at 4.68, which doesn't sound fake at all for a BCS-caliber safety. In fact, I give it negative one FAKE out of three.


Players without recruiting profiles do not have highlight videos available on the internet. That's just the way it is. Hopefully, there will be some freely-available video sometime soon.


Flimsy evidence ranges from "We are recruiting sites and we have never heard of this kid" to "we cover high school football in the area, and this guy is the Tim Tebow of defense." Wide ranging indeed. I would tend to believe a little bit of both. When recruiting sites haven't heard of a guy despite his BCS offers, there's a reason for that. When his high school is ranked in the preseason, and the only reason given by a local media outlet is his mere presence on the team, there's also a reason for that.

His interceptions and punt returns speak to both his athleticism and ball skills. His defense's performance against some pretty good talent in New Orleans area, with him as the star of said defense, speaks to the fact that he could probably start for Michigan Saturday if he showed up in Ann Arbor tomorrow.

With a dearth of quality bodies (...or any bodies) at safety for Michigan right now, any defensive back is a good defensive back. The staff clearly loves him and thinks they've uncovered a sleeper, given the early offer. He'll probably be a special-teamer in year 1 (or after a redshirt), and work his way into the defensive rotation by his third year on campus.


None. Michigan still needs a million more defensive backs of all varieties. A prospect like this certainly won't do anything to scare away more highly-rated guys, and if he does, the Michigan coaches need merely pop in a lowlight tape from this year's defense. He does potentially help out down the road, without scaring anyone away.

You'd like to see the remainder of Michigan's defensive back pickups be of the 4/5-star type, but given the early offer, this is a "trust the coaches" pickup.

Etc. Shoutout to mgouser umhero for making my Googlestalk slightly easier. Posbang this post, folks.


Maize and Blue…

November 4th, 2009 at 4:48 PM ^

are only for one year and are not necessarily renewed. Don't forget that odds are that Adrian Witty will be joining the team in January as he is currently doing well in the class he had to make up.
I have to believe that the coaches will find a way to sign 28 and move three early enrollees to last year's class. This would make for two classes of 25. Unfortunately, it might take a little more attrition either from current young players who see that they might not get on the field or 5th years not being offered that last year.


November 3rd, 2009 at 10:26 PM ^

high on Johnson even though that they're in good shape with Grimes(along with Murphy which appears to be a package deal), Christian and Knight. That will bring about 4 defensive players if it holds. That will bring about a total of 24 commits(assuming that they commit to Michigan).


November 3rd, 2009 at 10:31 PM ^

Seems a bit strange to accept a commitment from him at this time. We're not in absolute crunch mode, but we're pretty darn close. I know the offer isn't new, but I feel maybe we should have waited till after the OSU weekend when we might know more from Cullen, Knight, etc.

It's not that these guys will be scared away, but if we can take more talented DB's, I'd prefer it. With Avery, Talbott, and now Johnson we have three "meh" DB prospects. I'm all for filling up the backfield, but do we need to take this many fliers? Or are they fliers at all?

I'm not good at evaluating talent, and if we can dig up some video on this guy, I'd defer to someone like Magnus to provide a little insight.


November 3rd, 2009 at 10:37 PM ^

Even if we get Grimes, Christian, and Knight, which is a best-case scenario, you're still talking about 6 guys to play 4 positions. Do we want Michigan taking 6 defensive backs in every class? No, but we are in pretty desperate need for DBs right now, so taking 6 guys is in no way something to be concerned about.

Steve in PA

November 4th, 2009 at 9:32 AM ^

The Decimated Defense PtII made some excellent observations about quantity v quality. 5* kids are great, but solid programs also get and retain a lot of 3* players. We didn't have enough of them left so now we're starting walkons.

If this kid is a 3* that contributes in any way that is great. I'm also encouraged that RR and staff may be recruiting smaller schools to pickup lesser known talent.


November 3rd, 2009 at 10:57 PM ^

I always look to see if a local school has offered the kid a scholarship. Often schools like La Tech and Tulane cannot afford to recruit nationally so they focus extra hard in their region. Since they know a team like Michigan can swoop in and steal any good players they try and get a connection with the diamonds in the rough before they become well known. They know that they have zero chance of keeping a 5 star but they might get lucky with a kid who gets 2-4 stars. The fact that Tulane and La Tech already have made offers to this kid makes me think he's a steal. I'm hoping we get enough 4-5 star DBs that we can redshirt him and develop him. Remember, athletes often make great special teams guru.


November 4th, 2009 at 3:25 PM ^

I never said all 53 players on a bad team are diamond in the rough players. If your a team like Tulane you know all the 4 and 5 star kids in your area who go to camps and are listed by rivals and scouts are never going to your school (short of academic/legal issues). However, if these services miss on a kid and there is no hype about the player (outside the local region), like with Carvin, the small schools know that they need to hop onto this kid and build a connection before a school like Michigan or Miami or Georgia comes along. Most schools don't offer a scholarship to a non-Reggie Bush type player the spring of their junior year. So when I see a local team (in this case La Tech) offer this kid that early I know they are trying to lock him in before he gets noticed and his tapes get spread around. In this case that didn't happen for La Tecg and he's coming to A2. La Tech is not going to offer a backup LT a scholarship 8 months before they need to. So, when I'm trying to determine if a NR kid is a diamond in the rough or just bad I look to see when the local low-tier teams offer.

Does that make sense?


November 4th, 2009 at 3:17 PM ^

If the scouting services were 100% right then ND would be the #1 team in the country talent wise. The services can't cover every player on every team so they partially rate players off their offer sheet. Thus a player with a USC/ND offer is rated higher than a similar WR with a Tulane offer. I really trust the coaches and the local media more than Scouts or Rivals.


November 3rd, 2009 at 11:01 PM ^

The pickup definitely falls into the "trust the coaches" category as is doesn't appear that Archbishop Rummel has been a hot bed of talent over the past decade or so. Most recruits out of the school appear to have gone to the smaller LA schools be it Tulane, ULM, LA Tech, etc, but there have been a fair share of “meh” recruits head to Kentucky and LSU. Granted he received his offer awhile ago, but I also remember a CB recruit out of Florida (I fail to remember his name) who was shot an offer in the spring as well, but was given the slow play for lack of words after he wanted to commit, I’m just hoping were not scraping the barrel for safety recruits. But yes I’ve seen the play of Williams, and yes I know we need to build depth and that the likes of Tony Jefferson and others have shown interest, just was holding out some hope the final 6-7 recruits would possibly present more impact on paper that would also translate to the field.


November 3rd, 2009 at 11:37 PM ^

If 4.68 is a decent time for a BCS caliber safety, why does everyone keep saying Kovacs is too slow to play safety? He runs in the 4.6s.

Per the Scout interview...

Question: What have you been timed in the 40?

Jordan Kovacs: “I think I was a 4.6 at the first tryout. It was mid to high 4.6.”


November 4th, 2009 at 3:15 PM ^

While his speed is a problem it could be a much smaller problem if he took the right angles to make the tackle. When a RB breaks past the LB's up the middle of the field Kovacs consistently runs at the RB, while running inward (45 degree angle) and because he isn't a 4.4 4.5 guy he gets burned. If he ran directly across the field he would be able to catch the RB. This is a lot easier to see from my couch when I have a bigger view (and the guy isn't 210 pounds and running a 4.4) so I'm not trying to blast Kovacs, but you'd think after getting touched 3-4 times you'd stop taking horrible routes.