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 5:07 PM ^

Let me get this straight. We got a first team all state kid from Ohio who just led his powerhouse program to a state championship? I dont see how this is a problem, regardless of how many spots we have left or how much wishful thinking any of us have about other, more guru approved players comitting here.

Rodriguez needs to establish as many Ohio pipelines as possible.

This is an example of doing just that.

We were the worst in the Big 10 at recruiting Ohio from 2005-07. Not so coincidentally, IMHE, we are now the worst actual team in the Big 10.

For UM to do as well as want, they have to be #2 in the Big 10 in Ohio, behind you know who. We are getting their with Rodriguez, who has quickly re-established Michigan back in Ohio recruiting.

Make no mistake, the Ohio kids from the 2008-10 classes will be the backbone of the Michigan Renaissance. Regardless of who actually corches them as upperclassmen.


December 4th, 2009 at 6:17 PM ^

A quality player with good academics...all state at a position of need...excellent coaching pedigree with D1 quality starters produced at his position.

...but ESPN and the gurus are down on him...after last season I'll take a flier on one player with that pedigree also.

STW P. Brabbs

December 4th, 2009 at 9:38 PM ^

We should consider the success of his team and his Division III award more than recruiting rankings or his offer list?

I'd been convinced that recruiting rankings mattered. But maybe what matters more is the above factors, in addition to gross quantity of recruits (i.e., Depth in Lottery Tickets.) Someone should do some statistical analysis.


December 5th, 2009 at 12:21 AM ^

Yes, why not consider those factors. You should consider every factor. His Div 3 school is one of the best in the country. Its in a talent rich state that trains kids to play football.

More than anything, I lean on the fact that 2 former Cardinal Mooney players who were 'meh' recruits at best with little interest have panned out and been pains in the side for most teams in our region.

Kyle McCarthy, S, Notre Dame. Class of 2005

Darrel Johnson Koulianas, WR, Iowa. Class of 2006.

I'd take either of these guys on our team right now.

Those guys both won state titles at Mooney and were two-way stars for them. Arguably the best player on each of those teams. The same resume as Vinopal. The scouts didnt really like those guys coming out. I dont really care if the same scouts, for now, seem to like this kid less.

Given our woes in the d backfield, we need as many possible people stocking the roster back there. Given what other low rated recruits from this school have done, I have no problem taking a chance on this kid and give Rodriguez and Co and great shot at turning him into a Big 10 players.

STW P. Brabbs

December 5th, 2009 at 1:37 PM ^

Koulianos apparently had a far more attractive recruiting profile than Vinopal - he was a three-star WR, the number 47 WR nationally, and had some truly eye-popping stats. Koulianos had 1,350 receiving yards as a sophomore (!!) at Mooney, and apparently played quarterback and running back after that. So, as the proverbial Best Athlete on the Team, he fit the bill for a recruiting sleeper in that he didn't have one defined position, but was productive as all hell no matter where you put him on the field. Finally, he had offers from Iowa, Illinois, Cincinnati, Syracuse, West Virginia ... and pre-Recruting Desperation Mode Michigan. I'd be cautiously excited if we recruited D.J. Koulianos. Vinopal he ain't.


As for McCarthy, his other offers were Navy, Toledo, Northwestern, and Ohio State. So, Notre Dame and two Big Ten offers, one of which was Ohio fucking State. Not Kent State and Bowling Green.


The only thing separating you from 'Mike Hart so recruiting rankings don't matter' is the fact that these kids all played at the same (Div. 3, so not "The Highest Level") high school.

Look, I'm really pessimistic right now about Michigan football, and I'd probably be in a better mood if I could comfort myself with the mantra that The Coaches Know What They're Doing and Every Recruit Is Depth and Therefore Is A Good Signing (never mind that depth which is horrifying on the field doesn't do a team much good.) But don't act like you're being the logical one for being happy about the Vinopal commitment. You can make the claim to being a better fan, I guess, but you're not really making any sense.


December 4th, 2009 at 5:18 PM ^

i don't know how comfortable i am with this pickup (not that it matters...) but i do know that teams like TCU, Iowa, and Wisconsin have been playing lower rated players on defense for a while and it seems to work for them.


December 4th, 2009 at 5:26 PM ^

I know very little about high school football - my team was one of those small parochial schools in MI that makes the playoffs once a decade - but even I have heard of Mooney in Ohio. I'm fine with this pick-up, as it gets UM in the door at an elite football school. Will this kid be a star? Probably not. But he is a winner who wanted to go to UM, and right now I want kids like that on this team. Maybe not a team full of 2*-level kids, but a couple certainly doesn't hurt.


December 4th, 2009 at 10:45 PM ^

You did approve of 2 star Patrick Omameh's play this year, correct?

Michigan currently has 3 2-star recruits in its 2010 class. One (C. Jones) just led his high school team on an epic playoff run in South Carolina. A second just won a state title. The third (Williamson) is a state sprinting champion.

Let's get some perspective. Only Illinois (who has only 8 commits), Sparty, Ohio State and Penn State have fewer two stars than Michigan.

Minnesota, with that epic recruiter Tim Brewster, has 17 of 25 commits with either 1 or 2 stars.

Iowa has 6. Northwestern has 6. Purdue has 7. Wisconsin has 5-6.

I have no problem with this pickup. He's a winner, and he may get the bump now, which would make all this bitching a moot point.

J. Lichty

December 4th, 2009 at 5:31 PM ^

Although this admittedly a highlight tape, I didnt see any hesitation in his reads or drops (Im looking at you Brown and Ezeh). Maybe the tape that ESPN watched shows that, but I am sure the M staff watched more than this highlight tape.

His angles were a little shallow on some of his fills, which will lead to whiffs on faster, stronger backs.

But his instincts look really good and he does it at speed.

Jamiemac makes a great point too about reestablishing the Ohio pipeline, although I was really surprised to learn that Lloyds last classes were last in B10 in Ohio kids.


December 4th, 2009 at 6:07 PM ^

Being last in Ohio is more my theory right now than anything else.

I have not seen any actual rankings to prove that. And, I am working on a blog post on this matter that spells it out in more detail, I just havent had time yet as I really wanted to finish to football season and start the college basketball with a strong run of posting at the JCB. But, I plan on spelling this out in detail. Some quickies, however.

The only contributer on the team right now from the 2005-07 classes from Ohio is Zoltan Mesko.

We've brought in twice as many top-100 recruits beginning in 2008 than we did from 05-07.

We've signed great Ohio recruits, but something happens when they get here. Example, 2006 we had 2 top-10 Ohio recruits: Justin Boren and Cobrani Mixon. Sigh

In 2007, we signed nobody from Ohio. Northwestern, meanwhile, has three starters on its defense from Ohio's 2007 top-100 prospect list.

When you look at the Ohio prospect lists from 2005-07, you would be startled at how many commits the other Big 10 schools received. Most of them had more.

Its a working theory, but when you realize how important Ohio has been to michigan's success since the beginning of the football program, then, well, you begin to understand why we're not as talented as we have been.

I'll take a flier on a non guru approved kid from Mooney or even anywhere from Ohio, than a on a non guru approved kid from Grand Rapids any day of the week and take my chances. And, if people think thats a knock on Obi Ezeh, well then whatever, but I think you get my point.


December 4th, 2009 at 5:33 PM ^

does anyone else not think that he looks really good on film? the only thing vinopal and kovacs seem to have in common are that they are white and play safety. vinopal seems like a much better athlete - more fluid, much sharper in coverage, much better ball skills. i wouldn't be surprised to see him get another star (or two) because based on these films he looks more like a 3 or 4 star to me.


December 4th, 2009 at 5:43 PM ^

This has probably already been said, but PJ Fecko is one of the best HS coaches in Ohio, and Mooney just won another state title today, so if anything there's that.

For comparison's sake, Devin Gardner squeeked by Steubenville, Mooney rolled them by 4 tds last week..

Wish I wouldve known he was even in the picture, I wouldve gone to check him out. I'm hoping he turns out like another Mooney S, Dan McCarthy who starts (and is going to be really good) at ND..


December 4th, 2009 at 6:05 PM ^

I like the idea of taking some guys who "know how to play". We saw it this year with Kovacs and Leach being vastly less talented than the guys who were recruited to start, but the value of knowing the game and being a good football player outranks just being faster and stronger than everyone else. Faster and Stronger is worthless if you have your head up your butt and don't know where to go. We saw a lot of that on D last year, hopefully a recruit like this is because of his game knowledge and ability to do what he's supposed to do without needing 3 years of coaching to do it. Rich isn't in a good spot to put his hopes on more guys like Campbell and Turner who for whatever reason had fundamentals so bad coming out of high school that they couldn't get on the depth chart for the last place team in the big ten.


December 4th, 2009 at 6:48 PM ^

The acquisition of Vinopal increases team speed on defense. It also give you a speedy punt returner. He may not be the answer, but he will be a cog in the machine. I see this commit as depth in the secondary. Also Michigan will have players fast enough to take away angles on defense. Vinopal is another hornet in the swarm. Be patient. RR knows what he is doing.


December 4th, 2009 at 6:55 PM ^

Whatever, I hope this kid turns out.

However, if I were forced to bet on the situation (not to be confused with that guido from the Jersey Shore), I'd put some money down on "fail". Not epic fail, but fail...

los barcos

December 4th, 2009 at 7:44 PM ^

chastise north carolina a couple years ago when they took on all those greyshirts? sigh. i guess beggars cant be choosers, but i dont like the path we're going down with the overcommits.


December 4th, 2009 at 9:53 PM ^

If I remember that situation correctly, though, NC was recruiting way over their number of available spots and were basically pushing kids out as they signed other guys. Same with Alabama. There might be one or two grayshirts, at worst, in this group, and even that bugs me. But UNC seemed to be pretty egregious at the time.

los barcos

December 4th, 2009 at 10:41 PM ^

we really gave a wag of our finger to butch davis and nc, when, right now our attitude is more along the lines of "eh, it has to be done in todays day and age"

i dont think this would have been okay a couple years ago, but i honestly think we as a fan base are starting to (albeit slowly) shift to the win at all cost mentality. a couple grayshirts here and there may not seem like alot, but it could also be that first step towards a path we shouldnt be going towards.

rich rod has been talking alot about "building a program the right way" i think, whether or not this is egregious, we cant really make the argument that it is "right".

just my e-opinion though.


December 4th, 2009 at 9:34 PM ^

This guy has great instincts and always seems to know where they ball is. There were times in that highlights video where teams would do a zone read or a triple option and Vinopal would always find the ball. I am not saying this kid is going to be amazing but he will be a solid player at the very least. The 4.5 GPA is also pretty impressive.


December 4th, 2009 at 9:53 PM ^

offer. I'm not saying that he does not deserve a scholarship, but why not wait to see how the other higher rated recruits pan out first? Michigan is competing against Kent State, BGSU, and Air Force! I'm sure that if RR waited a little longer and kept in contact that he could have offered him in January and he would have still committed.
For those of you who argue that RR knows something more about this kid than the recruiting sites, what about DT John Hankins? RR had a great opportunity to offer Hankins, who is a life long M fan that plays at an M pipeline. Instead RR waits, offers every 2 or 3 star in the country, then Oklahoma, Florida, and O$U offer him, and then RR finally extends the offer and has to play catchup with a kid in his own backyard!

I hope that Vinopal succeeds, but with the number of available scholarships, and the immediate needs on one of the worst M defenses in the history of the program can Michigan really afford to extend December offers to guys that really should be a Plan C or D? That Defense needs to improve dramatically in the next 2 years or else RR will not be back in 2012. Also, I understand that Michigan is not entitled to every 5 star recruit in the country, but how many sleepers will RR offer in each class - they currently have 5 "sleepers": Dileo, Carvin Johnson, Cornelius Jones, Vinopal, and Willamson. Will this be a trend that will continue, or will RR stop offering out hundreds of scholarships once Michigan starts winning again?
Michigan has the tradition, education, fan base, and facilities that permit them to compete with the elite programs for recruits. Depth is great, but what happens if Michigan gets one or two highly rated safetys in next years class who are ready to contribute immediately? Does Vinopal ever see the field, and how many times can you make someone switch positions? Of those 5 sleepers does anyone really think that Michigan could not have still gotten them just as easily in January or February? Go Blue!


December 5th, 2009 at 8:44 AM ^

honestly i'm not sure of the get either. but i do have one question. when was the kid evaluated? ok 2 questions. has he been re-evaluated? from his junior tape the services decided he was a 2* since he had no real offers they did not go back to look at senior film. his season just finished with no new updates on him,so as of yet no new evaluation of his senior year. let's just reserve judgement til the last re-rankings. with the MIch. offer the services will most likely go look at some senior tape and re-evaluate. for crying out loud at the beginning of the season they had ESPN 150 watchlisters that was from watching soph. tape of the kids. if they get good offers they watch more film if not they get pushed to the back burnner. so here's to RR and co. actually going out there watching these kids and talking to these kids. so let's all say welcome Ray, welcome to the big house.


December 5th, 2009 at 10:44 AM ^

Yes, I don't get why we should focus on where he was evaluated as a junior. It's important to consider, but it's just a beginning data point. He's played an entire 15+ games this season - how good is he now, relative to others? That's what matters.

When we got a commitment from Carvin, everyone was a bit dubious (he was a "no star" at the time) and based on a) his & other coaches speaking highly of him, b) him doing very well in a state playoff push, c) him having the name Carvin Johnson (admit it - if Ray Vinopal had a more intimidating name like Barkevious Mingo, it would make a difference to some folks) and d) him getting evaluated by the services, now Carvin is a 3 star and everyone seems pretty satisfied that we got him.

Plus, looking at the 3rd picture down here, http://www.mooneyfootball.com/, Ray is definitely excited about coming to Michigan (he's not the guy in the jester hat!).

I, too, wish we could be like USC and Florida and have 5 stars falling from the sky. Unfortunately, that's never been the case at U of M (we've always gotten 1, maybe 2, at most per year) and certainly won't be until we turn it around. I'll take an all-state guy, at position of need, from a Div III (out of six divisions) Ohio power.

Welcome, Ray!


December 4th, 2009 at 11:19 PM ^

What I want to know is this:

Is the extra scholarship used on Terry Talbott worth using at this point to get Terrence?

If I got the names mixed up I apologize, but you know what I mean.


December 4th, 2009 at 11:58 PM ^

Ray Vinopal is a player that comes from good football stock. He is one of the better players on a football team that is not only the state champs [I believe they're repeating]; but they are currently rated the #10 best high school football team in the nation according to Maxprep. Don't let the skin color fool you, the kid can play. He is nobody's plan B. He's got speed and has a nose for the ball. There was no logical reason for this kid to have flown under the radar but that shows us how reliable the rating services are. Trust me, the bigger schools will be calling him between now and signing day.


December 5th, 2009 at 10:24 AM ^

I would feel much better about him if it didn't look like he was hanging on for dear life on every tackle. He seems to give up 2-3 YAC on every tackle he makes.

I guess at this stage I should just be happy with someone who can get the tackle in the first place.



December 5th, 2009 at 11:40 AM ^

1. We need leadership....A smart kid who is a decent athlete can be a huge addition when surrounded by the right talent.

2. We need as many heads as we can get. Stuff them in...Gray shirt em baby.

matty blue

December 5th, 2009 at 12:55 PM ^

he seems to be a smart player and a good hitter, plus he seems to have a nose for the bal. you can coach that up. he might be a step slower than williams (or, it should be noted, he might not) , but i'm less worried about him overrunning plays.

welcome to michigan, ray - you're going to the greatest school in the world, and you'll have a chance to play on a very big stage. good luck!


December 5th, 2009 at 1:04 PM ^

I posted this in another thread but thought some of the Vinopal haters might want to consider the possible long-term potential of signing Vinopal.

When Vinopal announced he was signing a whole 24 hours ago, I did have the initial why not wait a month or two till things shake out till we take him. However, I have done a complete 180 recently based on some good posts, film and a brief study of Mooney's past classes.

Starting in 08 and going forward Mooney has had some great talent ranked above 5.6 on Rivals
Rivals and School-LOI

6.0 Penn St
5.9 Penn St
5.8 Notre Dame
5.8 MICHIGAN -Taylor Hill and yes I known he transferred

5.7 Ohio State

5.9 West Virgina
5.6 Undecided with BCS offers
5.3 MICHIGAN-Vinopal

......no doubt every player will be a 6.1

As many have said, Mooney is becoming a BCS level feeder school where Michigan needs to have a foot in the door. More importantly, as with many schools both high school and college, success breeds success. If you're a solid freshman high school football player with some major potential in Ohio, you will definitely think about attending Mooney especially with the BCS offers that have flowed in recent years. With Vinopal, Michigan now has a solid in to the coaches which is key. So I say, thank you RichRod for making an investment in Mooney and thinking about the long-term needs of the Michigan program. Sure there may be a chance RichRod may not be here in a few years (I hope not) but he is definitely laying a foundation at key schools that will benefit the football team.


December 5th, 2009 at 5:39 PM ^

1. ESPN is about the least reliable of the recruiting services. Their rankings almost always seem to be outliers, which I am sure those of us who have subscriptions to all 3 and who follow recruiting closely can attest.

2. We should probably stop speculating about the maximum number of scholarships and the effect on the offers for this class and wait until we have definitive information. Like Mr. Roh said, recruits read these boards, and if we don't know what we are saying is true for certain, and they don't know any better, we could lose interested recruits.

3. I tend to trust someone who spotted Steve Slaton and Pat White, neither of whom were highly rated and both of whom turned into stars under RR, more than the recruiting services.

This is just my opinion and it's not worth the space it is taking on this board, but these are things that I think are worth thinking about before we decide this guy is either going to be a bust or Brandent Engelmon (which is not too much of a compliment) at best.