Hello: Ray Vinopal Comment Count

Brian December 4th, 2009 at 2:50 PM

GBW is reporting that OH S Ray Vinopal has committed to Michigan($). Either that or they just like posting stories titled simply "Ray Vinopal!" Informative update coming.

Informative Update:



Scout Rivals ESPN
2*, #144 S 2*, NR 2*, 68, #254 ATH

All right… yeah. So Vinopal is a "sleeper" if you want to be kind or a "MAC prospect" if you're not a Michigan fan. But hey, he's basically Ted Ginn!

I saw Vinopal take an end around for a touchdown against MY Irish (St. Vincent St. Mary). The kid is ridiculously fast. He's one of those kids who you get into school and worry about a position later.

I hate to throw the comparison out there, but he reminds me of a shorter Ted Ginn.


Doesn't have the same top end speed IMO, but a very very good football player.

Oh. So, like, a slow Ted Ginn. More, because as long as we're taking a comment from a random Notre Dame message board it might as well be the whole thing:

People forget Ginn was a top cornerback coming out of high school, and switched to WR as a freshman. I could see the same thing with Ray. People will look at his size and say corner, but I think he'd be deadly in the slot and as a returner.

ESPN, for its part, does not reference Ted Ginn in its evaluation of the #254 "athlete" in the country:

Lacks desired length and height as a high-point safety as well. He is an active run defender who will come down and fill hard; provides good secondary support. Shows adequate closing burst and makes solid contact as a tackler with better-than-adequate pop. Overall underneath range and speed is good but he does not fill with great downhill burst and sharp angles; loses outside leverage on the ball at times. … Lacks quick diagnosing and reaction skills which is a concern. Not a guy who projects well playing down over the top of slots in man coverage schemes and feel he could struggle mirroring/breaking down on quicker skill players in space.

That is Jordan Kovacs. I don't know, maybe this evaluation was pre-senior season and he got a lot better, warranting the interest from major programs this fall, but that's the least enthusiastic ESPN scouting report this guy has ever seen.

…and that's all that's been written about Vinopal aside from a few game articles that mention long touchdown runs in Mooney's recently-concluded state championship season.


They aren't encouraging, as Vinopal was a sleeper going into his senior season and despite "interest" from a number of local power programs it doesn't appear that any other than Michigan pulled the trigger. So, the teams beaten out: Bowling Green, Kent State, and Air Force.

For what it's worth, Vinopal claimed that Notre Dame—where he visited for the USC game—and Pitt were considering him after his strong senior year. Wisconsin also might have offered in July or something, but it's unclear.


No senior stats yet but here's his junior year:

After intercepting two passes his sophomore season, the 5-foot-11 and 185-pound Vinopal had another interception his junior season and had three games in which he made over 10 tackles.  Vinopal also rushed for 1,112 yards and scored 12 times.


How about a spectacularly FAKE combine from Vinopal's freshman year?

Also deserving special mention was freshman ATH Ray Vinopal of Cardinal Mooney in Ohio.  At 5-foot-9 ½ and 178-pounds, he had a 28.5-inch vertical, 9-foot broad, 4.45 shuttle, 4.56 40, and 30 reps at 135-pounds.

4.56 40 as a freshman gets four FAKES out of five.


Vinopal is the guy running around with a huge arrow over his head:

And some pass coverage:


Well… if you care about recruiting rankings, Vinopal is clearly the least exciting recruit in the class. That ESPN evaluation checks off all the things you don't want to hear about a recruit: small, slow, confused, etc. And on film he really does look like Kovacs. But there's a reason I don't watch recruiting film: I am a blogger. Obviously Michigan and a couple other schools looking at Vinopal thought there was something there, but recruiting rankings are meaningful things and a Brandent Englemon is a best-case scenario here.

That said, sometimes guys fall through the cracks and a lot of successful defenses are built from parts like Tyler Sash and whoever Wisconsin's running out there these days. The odds are against Vinopal, but that's not a guarantee.


You can write off the renewed Oh S LaTwan Anderson interest: with Vinopal's addition, Michigan has six defensive backs in this class and is primed to add a seventh in FL CB Tony Grimes. More likely, Marvin Robinson will find himself at linebacker before long.

More interesting is the scholarship situation: Vinopal is the 23rd commitment and three guys are expected to commit sooner or later, pushing Michigan over 25 and necessitating someone coming in on a grayshirt if there is no attrition. Vinopal may be that grayshirt candidate, come to think of it. It's clear that Michigan will sign 28 this year with three guys aware that they are candidates to grayshirt if everyone gets in. Vinopal and the two guys currently unqualified are the most likely.

Etc.: Photo gallery of a Mooney blowout has several pictures of Vinopal.



December 4th, 2009 at 3:43 PM ^

possibility that this kid is a late bloomer type like Lewan. I still think he maxes out at 3 stars because he is somewhat undersized and not a burner.

My perception of him is that he has a very high football IQ, great technique, always in the right position, good ball skills, good tackler, and he plays an important position on a state championship team.

That being said, one has to wonder what the deal is with the remaining scholarships. With interest from other more highly touted kids like Rashad Knight and Sean Parker who play the same position, I would have liked to have seen if M had a legit shot at them.

Really makes you wonder if 25 is the absolute limit. Could Michigan have kids grey shirt?


December 4th, 2009 at 4:17 PM ^

What do you think - the staff said "Well, there are three other safeties out there who are better, that we can get, but we'll take this kid instead."? They either prefer Vinopal to someone like Sean Parker, or they (and I know this may be hard to grasp) MAY KNOW MORE ABOUT THEIR CHANCES TO GET PARKER THAN YOU DO.


December 4th, 2009 at 4:33 PM ^

what I think is that we offered early, thinking that we needed to take whatever we could get (or, as you say, assuming better players would not be available) but now we might be stuck with a commit that's of lesser skill than others who might want to go blue.

Now, we're in a position where we don't have much room for a number of needed players (including D-line) because we loaded up early with lesser recruits.

Side note...I don't care about Parker. I care about a well rounded class with the best players possible.


December 4th, 2009 at 6:00 PM ^

“dahblue;” I would tend to think that he informed the coaches prior to his public announcement and at that time if RR & company we're not as excited about his commitment as they were when they extended the offer they would have expressed that in private to him.


December 4th, 2009 at 6:29 PM ^

Chitown, I agree with your statements in the thread 100%. RR is going to take the best guys he can, no doubt about it. He is not saying "I know I can get Parker, and I think he's better, but I'm going to get Vinopal instead."

He either doesn't feel that we can get Parker, or he feels than he'd rather have Vinopal, or maybe he knows away that we can get both. What I do know is that if we got Ray Vinopal, it's because RR wanted him so we should be happy about it.

Welcome Ray.


December 4th, 2009 at 3:52 PM ^


It has been shown time and time again on this blog that recruiting rankings may not matter as much for each player, but matter overall for the team. More 5 star players pan out on average than 4 star, and more 4 stars than 3 stars, etc.

Citing an example or two to the contrary does not change this. Also, while RR does seem like a great talent evaluator, he's obviously not perfect. I'm sure if we went back and looked at his WVU recruiting, there would be plenty of these "sleeper" prospects who didn't pan out.

With about 3 spots left, 2 highly regarded safety prospects (Parker and Knight) showing interest in us, it seems a bit strange to get a commitment like this. Also, if the former players go elsewhere, it seems likely that this kid would still commit in late January. He has no other BCS offers, so I don't see the need to rush this recruitment.


December 4th, 2009 at 3:58 PM ^

Not only do the rankings matter, but THERE IS NO OTHER SIDE, AND NO DEBATE. That is, no debate unless a person likes to debate with facts, and with several different studies which PROVE that they matter. Sorry to go all caps, but this is tiring. If you read this blog, you have no excuse--none-- to make a statement about this 2 star or that 3 star. It's over. You can cite 10 examples and it means NOTHING.

Sorry mstier, you are correct all through your post.

Nard Dawg

December 4th, 2009 at 4:06 PM ^

My point was that in just a couple years here RR and staff have shown a good ability to pick out lower rated players who end up being solid players. Is it a guarantee? Of course not. But I think that there has been enough proof to trust in the coaches when it comes to situations like this. I also think that the coaches have a good pulse on just how interested kids like Parker and Knight are in coming here. So while I think its ok to reserve judgement and be a little skeptical, to jump to conclusions and trash the kid and our staff is ridiculous. Also, I can not remember a time ever where we had to turn down an elite prospect due to space in a class, so I'll believe that when I see it. For now i'm going to sit back and enjoy the ride.


December 4th, 2009 at 4:22 PM ^

But do you honestly think that the staff would have taken a commitment from Vinopal if they felt they had a chance at players they liked better? Why would they say "I'll take Vinopal even though we have a great shot at 2 safeties I like better."? That's right - they wouldn't.

So, that leaves two possibilities:

1. They, after watching tape of the three people in question (Vinopal, Parker, Knight) determined they prefer Vinopal.

2. They (shocker coming!) may be more knowledgable about their chances of landing Parker and Grimes than you are, and took Vinopal as an alternative to, say, the 4th Safety on their list.



December 4th, 2009 at 4:27 PM ^


I was going to throw a line or two in the end like this, but I agree 100%. Based what I've read on scouting reports which I believe to be at least fairly accurate because he went to Mooney, I don't think he is as good as Parker or Knight. Thus accepting his commitment to me suggests that the coaches don't think any higher rated safeties might make their pledge to us. I think it's reasonable to feel concerned about this, yes?


December 5th, 2009 at 9:32 AM ^

the situation requires we take who we have a real shot of getting. also if this guy after his "junior" tape is evaluated and only given a meh 2* why would all the top schools be all over his ass?, thats right they wouldn't. so either(like chitown and myself) shrug your shoulders and welcome the kid and believe RR and Co. have seen something they like or just keep being miserable.

STW P. Brabbs

December 4th, 2009 at 4:40 PM ^

I am deeply, deeply uncomfortable with this commitment, and think that you are arguing for a level of omniscience on behalf of the coaches that is nearly as silly as those who are experts based on highlight videos.

Unless our staff is the only infallible one in CFB, the list of other offers that Mr. Vinopal has amassed would suggest that we'd be fucking better off just hoping for a 10% chance that one of the other, higher-rated prospects would commit than filling one of our last spots with him.

Even for very good football coaches, recruiting and divining the intentions of 18 year-olds is hardly a science- maybe the staff got scared about filling the class, sent out way to many offers, and is now getting burned by that strategy. Seems plausible to me.


December 4th, 2009 at 4:51 PM ^

I'm not arguing that they're correct, STW.

What I'm arguing is that attributing the line of reasoning of "I prefer Sean Parker, and think he will come to Michigan given the opportunity, but I'm going to take Vinopal instead," is arguing, essentially, that our team is being run by people with Downs Syndrome (apologies if the comparison offends).

What I'm saying is that this commitment stems from only two possible conclusions: 1. They like Vinopal better or 2. They don't think the other guys are coming. I'm not claiming they're correct on either account, because I'm 100% uninformed on the situations of people like Sean Parker. Most people here are saying "WHY DO THIS WHEN WE COULD GET PARKER!!!!". This is indicative that they don't feel they WILL get Parker. Right?

Northern Fan

December 4th, 2009 at 6:01 PM ^

I agree that 5-star athletes make the overall team look better and most cases they are a better. I have to believe that RR and his staff know a lot more than us. They have that board lined up with every recruit imaginable. He has a better idea than we do of who is coming and who is going. Remember Furman has said "I already have made my choice, but he will not say until signing day". I have a feeling that RR and Furman have talked about his decision if it is Michigan. Same thing with Grimes and Murphy, those spots are saved.

I like the idea of bringing in 6 Db's this year, it helps us with depth and gives us the opportunity to be a better secondary against those teams that want to throw the ball. Depth is crucial!!


December 4th, 2009 at 3:07 PM ^

I, for one, will praise this decision. The kid has pretty good speed and size and I look forward to seeing what he can be with a little help from Barwis. Forget the haters, put your time in and make plays!!!!


December 4th, 2009 at 3:14 PM ^

I'll say it-Why are we taking him when we have 22 other guys and a few more who are expected to commit? I don't really like it. RR may think there is attrition coming from 2-3 guys.


December 4th, 2009 at 3:31 PM ^

I mean, we are literally desperate for depth, especially safety and LB, so that part I get. But a guy that if I'm not mistaken, is a 2* with no other BCS school offers? I can only think that the coaches know more attrition/de-commitments are coming or that they don't feel confident about the guys we're still pursuing


December 4th, 2009 at 3:56 PM ^

I can't get over this recruiting puzzle. If the Big Ten rule is right then I have no clue how we can keep recruiting.

1 Ricardo Miller
2 Jeremy Jackson
3 Jerald Robinson
4 Devin Gardner
5 D.J. Williamson
6 Antonio Kinard
7 Tony Drake
8 Stephen Hopkins
9 Marvin Robinson
10 Drew Dileo
11 Jordan Paskorz
12 Christian Pace
13 Kenny Wilkins
14 Cornelius Jones
15 Courtney Avery
16 Austin White
17 Terrence Talbott
18 Terry Talbott
19 Will Hagerup
20 Carvin Johnson
21 Cullen Christian
22 Ray Vinopal

Assumed additions:
23 Adrian Witty
24 Tony Grimes
25 Clarence Murphy
26 Josh Furman
27 Big Tex Beachum

Not to mention the many others still visiting us or the coaches are still visiting.

Either there's something that we don't understand about the Big Ten oversigning rule, the staff plans to greyshirt some players, or some of the players on the above list won't be joining us.

I would love to see the Big Ten rules.


December 4th, 2009 at 4:26 PM ^

Maybe you don't get it because you're not as familiar with the status of our commits and prospects as the staff. Do you think that RR would take a Vinopal commitment if:

a) he thought Parker/Knight/Grimes were better


b) he thought he'd get one of those


c) there would be no attrition?


December 4th, 2009 at 3:25 PM ^

not D1 school...he had a couple offers from the latter.

in a way i feel i just taught you something. sort of like the days when michigan students taught notre dame students the game of football.

just kidding. i know you're one of the those rare, objective nd fans bc i've read your posts before.


December 4th, 2009 at 3:31 PM ^

That's all i want to say (ahem, write) he sounds like a standout kid, 4.5 GPA, plays on both sides of the ball in one of the best HSchools in Ohio (5 of the last 6 championship games played, it wouldn't hurt to create some sort of pipeline...)
I know he's not highly ranked, but, first of all, i don't think RR is giving offers like if it was paraphernalia, he obviously saw something in this kid, we need safeties, and i don't care if we already have like 10 possible starters, (Vlad, Robinson, Williams, Kovacs, Woolfolk, Smith, etc) this years safety play was awful and if a 1 star kid can come and help with that that's fine by me, even in the worst case scenario it would mean that we have a 1 year starter but solid kind of like Brandent Englemon, the kid was only 2 stars and i bet we'd like to have him back, he started in the 2007 season and did a fairly well job, and by that i mean, he wasn't spotted like Stevie Brown, or Michael Williams, and speaking of Williams, wasn't he a high 4 stars prospect? the number of stars doesn't always correspond with the performance we see on the field, i'd rather have a kid with good fundamentals than a kid that has the physical advantage but get lost in every single play.
Welcome to the Maize and Blue Ray! (blue Ray! sounds like a nice nickname!)


December 4th, 2009 at 3:42 PM ^

Either every prominent program in the country missed a gem, or we're begging for scraps. Nothing against the kid...I hope he turns out to be an all-american with a 4.0. But, there aren't a lot of unknowns (especially at major high school programs) at this point in the year.

For example, in basketball...we picked up the Smotryck (sp?) commit before he was known nationally. Since that time, a number of big time programs have seen what Beilein/Jackson saw in him, and offered him. With this new football 2*, the HS season is nearly over and despite being scouted, we're the only big offer. I doubt that RR is so much more insightful than every other coach in the nation.


December 4th, 2009 at 4:32 PM ^

You think that after 8-16 we "might" be begging for scraps? That Parker may want to go Georgia or Nebraska or Oregon? Someone get this guy a fucking cookie.

Do you people honestly think Rodriguez would take Vinopal's commitment if he liked Parker more than thought Parker would come here?


December 4th, 2009 at 5:04 PM ^

With all (and that's not much) due respect...what the hell are you talking about? You keep making mention of "Parker"...over and over and over again. Had you read my posts (instead of getting giddy at the thought of 5747 points), you'd notice that not once do I reference "Parker". Maybe someone should get you a "cookie"...or better yet...a clue would also work well for you.


December 4th, 2009 at 5:40 PM ^

I'm not one of those people you cite so I'm not sure what your point was with regard to me. In any event, RR fans cite a defense full of low star and walk-on's as a reason that he just needs time to build the defense. Then, when said "building" involves the same level of player, everyone jumps up and down about how ratings mean little/nothing.

So what is it? Unheralded players are great when they commit but scapegoats when we lose? Did Lloyd really leave the cupboard bare or did he just find some rough diamonds?

Recruiting season is not over, and I don't want to be a school that (in addition to piping-in Neil Diamond and techno music) cuts kids loose to whom they had made a promise.


December 4th, 2009 at 5:50 PM ^

I guarantee you that we won't get to signing day without a de-commitment or a kid that doesn't qualify.

I guess I don't understand your complaint. Is it "It sucks that we're in this position"? Sure, I think we all agree that losing for 2 years sucks.

But I don't understand the criticism of signing Vinopal. Clearly, of the safeties RR thought we could sign, he felt Vinopal was the best. Does that make a statement on where we are in the world of recruiting now? Probably.