Hello: Ray Vinopal

Submitted by Brian on 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 5:59 PM ^

Ok...Let's say that Furman and Grimes are locks. That's a full class. RichRod, for all that I don't like about his record, does have a record of closing strong with recruiting. We don't leave ourselves much (any) wiggle room when picking up kids like this.

Compared to last year, I'd say the decommit potential is not very high. Maybe we have a kid who doesn't qualify; but is that what we want to root for?

Look, recruiting is always inexact...but it seems like we could be squeezing out the potential of grabbing a late high-talent player in order to get a player in uniform.

STW P. Brabbs

December 4th, 2009 at 9:29 PM ^

I respect that you're a logical, intelligent guy. But it's really starting to drive me nuts when you keep repeating that "of the safeties Rodriguez thought we could sign, Vinopal was the best." You weren't, by any chance, an econ major, were you? Because this sounds almost as circular in its logic as utility theory: people do what they do because that's what they want to do and if they do something else they wanted to do that too.

Like you said earlier: Rodriguez might be wrong. Rodriguez might be putting too much value on having a bird in hand as opposed to potential commitments; or he might have too much faith in being able to develop kids with limited athletic gifts, or he might be reading the possibilities of signing other recruits incorrectly. (Furthermore, with the extremely limited number of scholarships left, it doesn't make sense to only think about other DBs that are available - other higher-rated recruits at different positions of need are supposedly still possibilities.) Or he might be planning to oversign and then push kids out. These are legitimate concerns, and people post them on message boards because it feels like it might help to vent.

If you want to unceasingly operate on the assumption that "I'm sure the coaches know what they're doing," that sort of defeats the purpose of a message board, IME. I'm personally scared shitless about what appears to be a narrowing spiral of awful for the football team, and I was just beginning to become enthused about the likes of a least a one or two of Ash, Wilson, Beachum, Parker, some of the other safeties whose names I've forgotten, Furman, etc., committing. Even if you're exactly right about the coaches' thought process here, and they're exactly right that Vinopal is the best player we have any shot of signing: well fuck my ass. If our recruiting appeal has sunk that low, Rodriguez is going to be fired in the next year or two. What was keeping my optimism alive was that we still could recruit in the top 20 despite the troubles we've had. If that's no longer true, rebuilding has just been extended indefinitely into the horizon, especially if we have to find a new coach.

Actually, none of this might matter at all, because without Warren our secondary is going to be just as awful next year as it was this year, as Woolfolk is likely going to have to stay at corner and we'll have either first-year starters, the Grit and Determination of Jordan Kovacs, or Mike Williams at safety.

I'm rambling and a full Debbie Downer right now ... but I'm having a hard time to find any reasons for optimism with this program at the moment.


December 4th, 2009 at 11:19 PM ^

I don't think you and I are too far off, honestly. My real complaint here is that people seem to think that Rodriguez took Vinopal over someone like Parker or Knight - as if he felt he had the option to say "Well, I can have Parker, but I'll take Vinopal instead." In all likliehood, he didn't feel that he had that option, but rather, the option between Vinopal and someone he felt was worse.

Now, I readily accept that Rodriguez could be wrong - he can be wrong about Vinopal's quality, and he can be wrong about the intentions of people like Knight and Parker. I'm not qualified to judge that, but I acknowledge the possibility.

I'm not arguing that people should be "excited" about Vinopal (myself, I choose to shrug and be optimistic because the alternative is miserable). But look - picking up a 2-star safety because better options are bound for other ports is sort of the world we're in right now - we've had 2 decent safeties in the past 13 years, our 2-deep at the position lists 2 walk-ons, and we're 8-16 in the past two years. Sean Parker holds an offer from Oregon, who he just watched win the PAC-10 championship last night, should we hold our breath and wait for the kid?

I'm not saying this is "good", and I'm not trying to say "VINOPAL WILL BE GOOD CUZ REMEMBER MIKE HART TWO STAR MAJIK?". I'm trying to say that our scarcity at the position, our national image, and our results dictate that we may need to take a reach here, and that taking him isn't a sign of incompetence. If you "question" this decision, it means you're not paying attention. Do losing programs routinely sign the top safety in the nation? No.

Does that suck? Do I wish we could just welcome Latwan Anderson or Tony Jefferson? Sure, but we're not there. In the meantime, welcome, Ray. I hope you're good.

STW P. Brabbs

December 5th, 2009 at 1:34 PM ^

See, I'm totally with you until you say that you can only question the decision if you're not paying attention to the facts. I'm not asking for the best safety in the country, but there are 7-8 guys that Michigan supposedly has a shot at - people who have already or still plan to take visits - that are all rated higher and have more impressive offers than Vinopal. And there is a hard and fast scholarship limit. If there was no one on the radar and we offered three more two stars, it would indeed be hard to criticize.

You say you agree that the coaches might be wrong, and to me that means it makes sense to criticize the Vinopal offer. That's all I'm saying.

turbo cool

December 4th, 2009 at 5:18 PM ^

I have a legit question. When you say 'took' his commitment, does RR have a choice? That seems obvious but if you technically offer someone a scholarship and then they verbally commit don't you have to take their commit? Even if you gave them the cold shoulder and all that, that player could still come, right? I've always been unsure of this...

Northern Fan

December 4th, 2009 at 3:56 PM ^

We are talking about so many other recruits at this point, and to take a 2-star recruit is a little crazy to me. I don't know the whole story, but I have to believe coach RR has some information about other recruits maybe going other places.

Other Recruits:
Grimes and Murphy (2)
Jefferson (?)
Furman (1)
Beachum (?)
R. Knight (?)
Mathis (?)
***There are three recruits in that bunch that should choose Michigan.

I hope that Williamson, Vinopal, and Jones bring something to the table.

Good part about this potential signing is that gives us 6 DB's for our 2010 class. Now let's work on the DL!!


December 4th, 2009 at 4:05 PM ^

Idk if 25 is the limit or not, but, i wouldn't take Mathis, he's just to small and that can't be helped, all the QBs feasted on Cissoko and mathis wouldn't be different, im tired of watching the CBs playing like 10 yards deep in front of the recivers to try to keep everything in front of them, i also think we're set with the CB's, perhaps RR is trying to bring the heat on the recruits letting them know that the class is filling and we're not waiting, of that bunch you listed i'm more interested in Furman and Beachum/Hankins, i know Jefferson is good but he's a diva, if he ends up in Michigan it would be surprising.


December 4th, 2009 at 4:45 PM ^

Jefferson is down to USC and OU so I would forget about him.

Beachum, Michigan has a good shot of landing him.

Furman, Michigan leads for Furman.

Grimes and Murphy, consider them as part of '10 class.

Knight, has a shot but not that good

Mathis, no shot

You're right there are 3 recruits who should choose Michigan. I would expect some recruits being asked to greyshirt. Plus Drake and Kinnard may not qualify. As of now, the class is full when you count Grimes and Murphy as part of the class.


December 4th, 2009 at 4:00 PM ^

Does anyone know if he ever came on an official visit or if he was officially offered a schollie? If he was only offered as a preferred walkon then he could come with an academic scholarship and walkon without counting. The NCAA distinguishes between formally recruited and formally invited.

Six Zero

December 4th, 2009 at 3:58 PM ^

Perhaps you weren't aware, but there are several posters on MGoBlog who just don't think you made a good decision here. You see, they want you to only sign five star players and so there's simply no reason to go after people whom they, with their vast resources of athletic scouting (ie. Scout and ESPN), aren't too big on. Maybe you should login to the blog and ask us who we want, and we'll be happy to tell you who you're allowed to offer and who you are not.

PS. They really want Seantrel Henderson. You should sign him too.


December 4th, 2009 at 4:08 PM ^

There are some people on MGoBlog who like to use all-or-nothing false arguments like you did. Remember? "You're either a freedom lovin' 'Merican or a terr'rist". "You either support Iraqi freedom or love Saddam". Strange thing is...people still rely on false choices just like you!

No, SixZero, 5* recruits are not a must, but players that have interest from more than one (major) program are.


December 4th, 2009 at 7:41 PM ^

You guys and you refusal to read what you're writing about...aww....so cute.

Why is it that RR loyalists go wild for a 4* recruit (rankings matter then it seems) and then go wild for a 2* recruit a couple days later (because ranking don't matter).

We need solid players and wasting scholarships on players who didn't get offers from any major school is not a good path to success. If that proves your point or your buddy's; then you had a good point and I'm happy to help.


December 4th, 2009 at 8:21 PM ^

We arent wasting a scholarship you fucktard. The coaching staff clearly felt that he was deserving of a scholarship and accepted his commitment. Maybe, brace yourself here, the coaching staff knows more than you or any of us know. Maybe they have evaluated this kid more than any of us have. Maybe they get paid to do this for a living.

Maybe people like you should let the kid play first before you go spewing this shit of wasting a scholarship.


December 4th, 2009 at 8:56 PM ^

Sometimes you wonder why someone gets so testy. You also laugh when you think that they only use such language anonymously.

Anyway, shut-in, brace yourself for this...
Maybe...just maybe...ever other major college football program in the nation knows more than you and RichRod. If any major program thought the kid were good enough, they would have offered him. In the meantime, our great school is competing with BGSU for talent.

Do you get that? Does that make sense...fucktard? Does it?


December 5th, 2009 at 9:11 AM ^

while i agree that competing with mac teams does not seem like a good idea. i just want to ask a few questions that with your vast and superior knowledge can certainly clear up for us.
1. excactly how many kids play highschool football?
2. do 2/3 of the college programs really care about Oh. football when they can recruit from Tx, Fla, Ca.?
3. how long would it take to watch film on all those high school athletes?
4. is it possible that given his junior tape where the evaluation wasn't so high, that unless you "knew" about him that he might have been passed up?


December 5th, 2009 at 2:59 PM ^

I wouldn't say that my knowledge is superior. Instead, I would say that my analysis is.

1. I have no clue how many kids play HS football. A lot. How many are worthy of scouting? Not many.
2. Is Ohio a state that programs care about? Absolutely. 100%.
3. How long would it take to watch all the tape? Ages. Of course, your question makes a false assumption that every HS kid is a potential star. Clearly, those players of a high caliber separate themselves. They aren't exactly hidden. So, the amount of tape to watch (which is done by a number of services) is a tiny fraction of "all players in the land".
4. Your thought that this kid is a sleeper would be like saying that there could be a "sleeper" bball recruit at County Day. Big time HS programs get big time attention. It doesn't matter where his junior year tape was. Many eyes have been on this kid. They have more knowledge than I do. That's why I'll take their word for it.

Again, I will side with every major coach in the nation not named RR and say that this kid might be great (and, as a Wolverine, I hope he is), but there are more urgent targets available to a program with limited scholarships to offer.


December 4th, 2009 at 7:22 PM ^

You're missing the fact that Vinopal had no offers from BCS schools. It isn't just trusting the recruiting services' stars, it's wondering why every other BCS coaching team didn't find it worth offering him. With Carvin Johnson, there was the explanation that he is from a school that doesn't regularly send players to D1 football and so went unnoticed, but Vinopal is from Youngstown, Ohio, and that doesn't apply here. When we have interest from highly rated players with offers from top programs, it doesn't make sense to put your offers out for the last few spots until you have to.


December 4th, 2009 at 4:00 PM ^

This one is really confusing. It just doesn't seem to make much sense considering how many other prospects are expected to commit or are showing high interest.

It will be interesting to see what all shakes out. I smell a decommit or two coming.


December 4th, 2009 at 4:16 PM ^

Vinopal's team, Cardinal Mooney, just won the state championship for their division. I mean, they JUST won -- the game started at 11:00AM eastern. I highly doubt the kid would be talking about a college commitment a few hours before his championship game, so that leaves two other possibilities
1. He "embargoed" his announcement to one of the GBW geniuses until after his game, or...
2. He announced in front of some reporter's handheld mic in the locker room or on the field post-game.

In any event, this appears to be another sleeper, like Carvin Johnson -- smart kid, comes from a school with a tradition of winning, doesn't have any interest in doing exhibitions or distributing film to scouts, doesn't have enough stars for people at places like this, Rich Rod loves him.


December 4th, 2009 at 4:33 PM ^

I hate to send anyone to the history books to figure out this email, but I was in school when Barry Pearson was playing and this guy looks exactly like Barry. While watching those tapes, I wasn't thinking "big", or "hits hard", or "fast". I was thinking "smart". I've seen this before. Now all we need to find is a Tom Curtis for the same backfield.


December 4th, 2009 at 4:32 PM ^

so he's a quicker, more athletic version of jordan kovacs? uh, what the hell is wrong with that?! and save the, oh man we should be getting so and so 5* stud. i'm sure the coaches are fully aware of the scholarship situation and those they still have a good chance of landing. watching the film, the dude can already read plays and tackle better than several kids we already have on the team returning for next season. the one thing i will say is he does look small, even on the high school level. there, i said something negative but seems like a solid pickup.

Steve in PA

December 4th, 2009 at 4:50 PM ^

Maybe we need to look at those horrible 2-deep charts from last year again to remember that solid teams are built with 3* players. We're just trying to get back to solid right now. If the kid can play, then he should be on the team. If he couldn't play, they wouldn't have offered.

I don't dislike Kovacs either and I'm hoping that as he learns to read he'll become solid instead of toast.


December 4th, 2009 at 4:35 PM ^

If Warren leaves for the NFL -which is sounding more and more likely- that frees up another scholarship but we still have the 25 person class thing (or do we? has anyone figured it out?).

Regardless, I hope Ray finds great success on the field in Michigan Stadium and in whatever discipline he pursues academically. Welcome aboard!


December 4th, 2009 at 4:53 PM ^

As I understand it, if Warren leaves, it has no impact on this year's class. You can take 25 kids per recruiting class, and you cannot exceed an overall number of 85 scholarships. At present, we are so far below 85 (71 rings a bell) due to the attrition -- and that's before graduations -- that the full 25 will still keep us under 85 overall.

The question that remains to be answered is whether we can exceed 25 by having some kids enroll early. In that case, I've heard it said that they would count against last year's class (which, not including Witty, had 21, right?) instead of this year's.

So, if that is indeed the case, we could stash 3 early entrants (and Witty) in last year's class bringing this year's total to 28.

Of course, no one is certain of the new rules (or even if they are "new"), so what the hell do I know.

PS--I really hope this doesn't portend bad news from Josh Furman.

PPS--Yes, there are enough caveats in this post to choke a lawyer... by design. It is as much as question as a comment.


December 4th, 2009 at 4:45 PM ^

The kid is first team all Ohio. His team just won a state title.

Obviously, he can play, and if Michigan didn't want his commitment, they didn't have to accept it.

Best of luck to Ray. I hope that he plays and plays well.

Northern Fan

December 4th, 2009 at 9:40 PM ^

I live in Florida, and I am a huge Michigan fan. The day after this game I went to my school where I teach (P.E. Teacher) and created a shirt that said "Michigan is Tebow's Kryptonite". The students hated me for a long time, even today. Love That clip, I appreciate you letting us see it once again. Doesn't get old!!

Go Blue

STW P. Brabbs

December 4th, 2009 at 9:35 PM ^

Saying Brandent Englemon is the best-case scenario for Vinopal is like saying Vince Young is the best case scenario for Devin Gardner. Or that Mike Vick is the best-case scenario for Denard Robinson. It's possible, but playing the odds ...

Also, I love me some Englemon. But to be honest, a team full of Brandents does not a dominant defense make. Ideally, we'd have playmakers, and not just solid and competent but ultimately limited custodians of their positions. The fact that he probably is the second-best safety we've had says a lot more about our safety play than anything else.


December 4th, 2009 at 10:35 PM ^

The following players from the 2009 and 2010 classes have the potential to be hard-hitting, quality safeties at Michigan:

Marvin Robinson
Vladimir Emilien
JT Turner (if switched)
Buck Christian (if switched)
Carvin Johnson

Add Vinopal to that mix as well. Rich Rod is stocking the cupboard with either high quality, guru approved athletes, or players that might be a little lower rated but have performed at the highest level in HS.

This is a little different than the previous regime which took a 2 star FB and turned him into a what will be 4 year starter at MLB, isn't it? Or, what about the tale of Johnny Sears?

Rich Rod knows what he's doing. This kid is a good pickup.


December 4th, 2009 at 4:52 PM ^

ND took a strong look at him. Obviously there won't be any ND offers going out for a little while, not sure if they would have offered sans coaching search.

Also there is probably a bit of a "saving his seat" mentality here as well, its his only BCS offer and as it is widely known, space is running out in the UM recruiting class. It will be interesting to see how he views any latter offers.


December 4th, 2009 at 4:53 PM ^

Having watched the two highlight vids, Im giving him points for running up in there and hitting somebody.

Wishful thinking causes me to assign a Donny Dufek quality to the kid.

Yes, that does make me pretty old.


December 4th, 2009 at 4:57 PM ^

I like it, and I stand by what I said in the forum thread.

A kid from Cardinal Mooney, who has been one of their best players, if not their best on D, for a few seasons and spearheaded a state championship team from Ohio......I will take that kid every single time and take my chances that he will become a good player.

Darrel Johnson Koulians and Kyle McCarthy are recent examples of Cardinal Mooney kids who were middling and meh 3-star recruits. They seem to be working out.

This is a football factory. Kids go there to play and learn football. I can see him playing here.

Besides, we need all the DBs as possible. They're all lottery tickets. This is just another one in whats looking like a large DB class for us. That's the right tonic to fix the Back 7.