Hello: Tamani Carter

Submitted by Tim on January 20th, 2011 at 10:14 AM

Well... this one caught me by surprise. The Wolverine is reporting that OH CB Tamani Carter (a recent commit to Minnesota) has switched his commitment to the Wolverines. Carter hails from Pickerington Central, the Columbus suburb that gave us the likes of Justin Boren (who attended North).





Scout Rivals ESPN
3*, #104 CB 3*, 5.5, NR CB 2*, 74, #151 CB

The recruiting sites are in sliiiight disagreement on his height, with the majority coming to a consensus of about 5-11. All three sites list his weight as 175 pounds. We'll start with ESPN's evaluation:

Carter is a quick-footed skill prospect with very good athleticism... On defense, he transitions and closes the cushion quickly. Shows good underneath burst jumping routes in zone schemes... Has good extension, timing and leaping skills making him a very effective defender on the jump-ball. While fluid with good footwork, we do feel like he will be challenged in man-to-man coverage at the major college level. Appears quicker than fast and lacks great explosiveness and top-end speed needed to recover vertically. May struggle to press and set the edge on run support until he builds up his upper-body... Overall, Carter is a fluid athlete with great ball skills. Lacks game-changing attributes when projecting for major college level but will add good versatility and athleticism to a future roster.

They also evaluate him as a slot receiver on offense, but believe me, Michigan doesn't need more of those. Their overall evaluation seems to be "solid, BCS-level talent, but not a difference-maker at the BCS level." This is an odd evaluation considering their rankings of "hey, maybe this guy can play D-1 football." I imagine the lower end of their rankings are still being updated (the new 150 came out yesterday).

Scout has comments from the kid himself:

“I cover really well. I have great hips and closing speed. I also play offense and I’m very explosive. I want to improve my speed. And I’m still working on my feet. Overall, I’d like to get bigger and stronger.”

That's right in line with ESPN's evaluation, right down to saying he's quicker than he is fast.

Tamani also has his own website, praising mostly his work ethic, intensity, and academics. It also clips a few reviews of his game:

He's quick, changes directions well and showed good ball skills, making the breaks without drawing interference... He's a guy who we may have underrated some...

Carter may be one to watch in the future.

Yay for that. GopherHole's interview states that he also runs track.


Carter was committed to Minnesota before switching to Michigan, so he obviously held an offer from Jerry Kill's Gophers. Rivals also lists Air Force, Arizona, Iowa, Kent State, Stanford, and 1-AA Youngstown State.

A couple schools on that list (most notably Iowa and Stanford) have a recent history of developing under-the-radar prospects into stars, particularly in the defensive backfield in Iowa's case.


Scout has senior stats:

Tamani Carter finished his senior season (11-1) with 55 tackles and three interceptions. Two of those were returned for touchdowns (one of 96 yards and the other for 34 yards). He also caught 25 balls for over 300 yards.

Those are solid numbers, but it's hard to evaluate the stats of high school defensive backs, since there is such a wide variety of offenses faced.

ESPN says he had 5 picks, including one returned for a touchdown, as a junior.


Rivals and Scout both list him with a precise 4.48 40-yard dash time. That's quite good, but not exceptional, for a defensive back. Considering the book on Carter (very quick) and the level of agreement between the sites, I'm forced to give a mere one FAKE out of five.




Michigan started several freshman defensive backs last season, and Carter's scouting reports say that he needs to bulk up before being ready to contribute at the next level. That screams "redshirt," and I think that's a likely outcome for Carter's freshman year.

Even as a redshirt freshman, I think Michigan has enough athletic guys that even time on special teams will be hard to come by. As a redshirt sophomore, however, he might start getting serious special teams time, and as a redshirt junior and redshirt senior, he should work into the rotation on defense.

He's a solid player who will probably never be a star, but rather a role player.


As Tom tweeted, this is an odd commitment, considering Michigan has multiple DBs visiting in the next couple weeks. Those guys are more ready to contribute immediately, and unlike Carter, are not similar body types to several of Michigan's DBs already on the roster (Terrence Talbott and Courtney Avery are both average-to-small corners that are pretty thin).

This likely means that Michigan only feels good about their chances with, say, one of those defensive backs, and that somebody we haven't been expecting to play safety - either somebody on the roster (Cullen Christian) or a commit (Greg Brown) - will do so. Remaining DB commits in this class are likely to be looked at for safety as well.



January 20th, 2011 at 11:04 AM ^

but I thought Vinopal showed more promise at Free Safety than anyone we've had in recent memory. He shouldn't have been playing as a true freshman, almost no one should. But he is fast, reads the ball in the air well and tackles with authority. He just needs a lot more muscle. Give him some time in the weight room and I think he will be quite good. I think he could be all big ten by his senior year.


January 20th, 2011 at 10:37 AM ^

hopefully a guy that pans out for the future.  I like that Hoke is focusing on DBs that are bigger and not the pint size ones that RR had.  Not necessarily saying that the small ones are good, just saying that you usually want bigger DBs with the size of WRs these days.

and also since this was a surprise I will surprise everyone too:


January 20th, 2011 at 10:46 AM ^

Dude what are you talking about?   Do you get all your information from the Freep?  This kid is listed at 5' 11" 175.   That is big?     Who cares how big your corners are they just need to play.    Also, C. Christian and T. Talbott are both bigger than this kid and Avery was about the same size.  Countess is bigger this year, Hollowell smaller.  Yeah RR only brought in tiny db's.  

Amazing how bad information continues to get passed along as truth.


January 20th, 2011 at 11:05 AM ^

by big I meant tall....my apologies.  And by tall I meant tall for this class.  All the CBs that we had before the coaching change were 5'10" or less....so I would say that 2 inches is a bit bigger than we had been recruiting.  And I said that size doesn't necessarily matter with regards to DBs, but as many of the elite corners and safeties in the NFL show, size does help as most of them are about 6'0" or above.  So before you accuse me of reading the Freep(really?), realize where I'm coming from and how results speak for themselves.  Thanks for trying


January 20th, 2011 at 11:07 AM ^

but he has a point. Cullen Christian and Justin Turner before him were both over 6 foot. 5"11 or 6' is good size for a cornerback, but small for a safety. We'll see where he ends up, but the small db is the only db Rodriguez had is totally false.


January 20th, 2011 at 10:39 AM ^

Columbus is the only area in Ohio still growing. In recent year the suburban schools (Pinkerington's 3 HS, Gahanna's 2 HS, Dublin's 3 HS, Upper Arlington, The catholic schools) have produced some nice players recently. It will be good to have a link to that area for recruiting the next few years.

Michigan is doing a nice job of making in-roads @ Ohio powerhouses: Y'town Mooney (Vinopal), St. Ignatius (Ryan), etc etc etc.

Captain Obvious

January 20th, 2011 at 10:42 AM ^

since our class is so tiny at the moment, but I wish the staff would begin focusing on other areas of need...quickly.  DB is one of the few areas that is completely full of young talent and current commits.  Yet, 75% of our new recruiting news relates to DBs.  And yes, before you say the staff must not like our current roster of DBs...they haven't had any time to evaluate them and see what they can do.  This line of argument works going into next year's class if we see them focusing on DBs.  What we need now, in order:

  1. DTs
  2. TEs
  3. QB
  4. LBs
  5. OL (particularly OT, maybe higher need if we lose some commits)
  6. WRs
  7. RBs
  8. DEs
  9. S
  10. K
  11. ...
  12. ...
  13. ...
  14. ...
  15. ...
  16. CBs


January 20th, 2011 at 10:55 AM ^

1. I believe they're after 2 Tennesee commits. (I have no clue why) Tim Jernigan still has us as a favorite. Darian Cooper, Christian Heyward, etc. are still possibilities.

2. They're recruiting an Arkansas commit. (Can't remember his name) There's a good chance Hoke can sway him.

3. I have no idea if they're recruiting any QBs at the moment.

4. Apparently they're after Athony Wallace. (Oregon commit) Also, they're recruiting Frank Clark for defense.

5. Jake Fisher will probably recommit to us again. Chris Bryant, have a great shot with.

6. We don't need WRs. If they thought we did, they wouldn't have told Lucien to play DB instead of WR.

7. Rawls, still waiting on his test scores, and if they're acceptable, he will probably get an offer and commit. Justice Hayes may play RB.

8. I'm not sure if they're after any. Supposedly Beyer is moving to OLB. This should be higher up on your list.

9. This should be higher as well. Raven, who they're recruiting right now, would be moved to safety. Also, some players on the roster that are listed as CBs will move to S.

10. They're after one right now. (Forget his name) He was an AA.

Captain Obvious

January 20th, 2011 at 11:10 AM ^

totally are not recruiting anything but DBs.  Obviously we are, nominally.  I'm talking about where the FOCUS of our efforts should be.  Our DT and TE recruiting, which are completely essential for our scheme changes (more TEs and more use of 4 man line), is severely lacking.

And where is this "we don't need WRs" stuff coming from?  We really, really do.  Hoke turning away Lucien doesn't make this true - IMO this was an ENORMOUS blunder.  Hemingway and Stonum, our two prototypical pro style WRs are gone after next year.  Tree will be a junior and is a slot guy, mostly.  Stokes and JJ have not shown much to date.  Miller is a TE.  The rest are slots that will not be featured in this offense.  And this is supposed to be an offense that throws the ball more.


January 20th, 2011 at 11:20 AM ^

How do you know what they are focusing in on.  He went to visit Cooper(DT) just yesterday in the hopes of getting him to come up for a visit.  Also, Barnett from Texas(TE) is coming for a visit.  Carter may end up at safety which is a serious position of need. 

You can't control when kids are going to commit or if they want to come up for a visit.  What gives you the sense that all is focused on DB's. 

No offense and not solely directed at you, but I remember earlier in the year, people complained about the lack of defensive recruiting.  Guess what, RR was working on it, but the news was on the offensive guys.  Now, people are complaining about all these defensive guys and especially all the DB's.  I am sure news will come, but commits don't happen everyday.

Captain Obvious

January 20th, 2011 at 12:46 PM ^

on DBs.  I don't need to attend the in-home visits to know this.  They are working hard to keep our currently committed DBs on-board (good, I'd hope so).  They sent a new offer to this guy, which he accepted.  We are still hard after Raymon Taylor and others that were on the radar before Hoke, and likely will get him/others.  Other new offers/visits are scheduled for other new DBs not previously on the radar.  We took a high 4 star WR that was completely blue that never mentioned DB in his life and told him he was a DB or he was hitting the road.

Seriously, do we need more evidence that DB is a major area of focus right now for Hoke et al?  Again, it doesn't mean they aren't addressing other needs too - I'm sure they are.  My point is I would take most of the efforts outlined above, scrap them, and redirect those efforts to actual needs for the class.  Time is ticking.  He can sign 24 DBs next class if he works with our current crop and decides we need something new.


January 20th, 2011 at 12:56 PM ^

I will agree that I don't understand the Lucien move.  Of course, I have no experience evaluating talent.  Borges in his interview with Mgoblue said we have  alot of WR's which makes me think that WR is not that big of a concern this year and this late in the recruiting season. 

The focus on DB's was something that many complained about when everyone got hurt or left last year. 

I was just trying to reason that since Hoke started so late, the recruiting news seems all over the place.  I would guess that in the coming days we will see the other position recruits come to light.  I wish we could have DT and more OL commits.  Maybe they are silent and Hoke is focusing elsewhere.  I am sure we are not seeing the full picture. 

Hoke's staff has a lot of experience so I am sure they have a game plan.  We just have to be a bit patient.  WE have another LB that may be visiting this weekend. 


January 20th, 2011 at 11:24 AM ^

...Coach Hoke may be going a different direction with recruiting than the last regime? You mean there are other possibilities out there? How can this be? It doesn't fit with my soda straw level of insight into the situation!

In all seriousness, congratulations to Coach Hoke for landing his first commitment. I'm looking forward to evaluating the entire class when it comes into greater focus. 


January 20th, 2011 at 10:44 AM ^

I for one am excited. Any talent hoke can bring in at this point is great. Especially with the attrition we have had. Also, who knows really how effective JT and Troy will be coming off injuries. Depth is key.


January 20th, 2011 at 10:45 AM ^

This definitely was out of the blue! How many DBs do we need? We still have Cullen Christian, JT Floyd, Courtney Avery and others on the roster. We have Countess (Most likely), Brown, Hollowell (Sp?), have a great shot with McClure, Raven and others. I'm definitely not complaining! It's great to see defense again! This one was just a "head scratcher", though....


January 20th, 2011 at 11:15 AM ^

Out of the blue is good, especially given that Michigan has spots to fill on the recruiting class and this guy has an offer list that says he can be good given time.  If he becomes a good special teams player and then a starter/rotation guy by senior year then it's a win in my opinion.  Welcome Tamani.

Braylon 5 Hour…

January 20th, 2011 at 10:47 AM ^

After watching this team last year, I am pretty sure no one will complain about too much depth in the defensive secondary... even though it doesn't directly address some problems, if we have better coverage out there it makes the life of our front 7 SO much easier


January 20th, 2011 at 10:49 AM ^


Pertinent section (to me at least):

The 6-0, 175-pound Carter has the ability to play cornerback or safety at the college level and he has told Michigan he is open to playing wherever they need him. Linebackers coach Mark Smith was in-home with Carter earlier this week and explained their need for defensive prospects in the 2011 class.

"He was just saying they needed defensive backs that could cover man-to-man," Carter said. "I'm sure the number of defensive backs on their roster is at a minimum, so they were looking to bring in a couple more DB's.

If I had to guess, I'd bet the coaches are looking at him for more of a safety prospect, however if he has good man-to-man skills then I'd like him more at corner.


January 20th, 2011 at 11:12 AM ^

I'm not sure his 4.48 speed will make him a great cover corner, but strength helps out there some and as far as size in concerned, he could be a good fit.  I agree however with other posters in that he will most likely redshirt, bulk up, and play safety down the line.

STW P. Brabbs

January 20th, 2011 at 10:52 AM ^

My useless amateur opinion is that he looked like a good FS prospect if he can fill out in the next couple of years.  Not terribly quick, but looked pretty fluid.  Looks like he has pretty long arms and excellent ball skills.  Difficult to speak on his positional sense in a highlight video - especially one where he played CB - but appeared to have decent instincts for the ball.

As someone else pointed out, we're woefully thin on pure FS types, having recruited a bunch of monstrously big tweeners lately.  Could be a good pickup in a year or two.

Welcome to Ann Arbor, Tamani.