Hokepoints Not Out of the Attrition Woods Yet

Submitted by Seth on December 18th, 2012 at 10:33 AM

Michigan attrition 2013

Shown: players recruited 2009-2013. Blue=expected to be on 2013 team.

When you change coaches there's always a transition cost. Some programs pay more of it than others of course but in general players across college football are less likely to stick it out through the bad times if playing for a coach who didn't recruit them. I've covered how attrition to the 2005 and 2006 classes had profound effects on later defenses. This time I thought I'd zoom out and show what we might expect from the latest round.

How bad was it really?


(Now with Teric Jones and Tamani Carter)

Surprisingly bad. I have recruiting data going back to 1993 but can only really start gauging the quality of each class back to '96.* What I did is look at attrition not just from who didn't make it to their senior years but how much of their careers were missed. Figuring four years of eligibility per recruit, here's attrition from each class expressed in percentage of lost years.

Class Players Graduated or On Team
Retention Expressed in Seasons Key Losses
1993 22 6 (27%) 60/88 (68%) Biakabutuka to NFL, lots of playing time transfers
1994 19 15 (79%) 65/76 (86%) T. Laws went to MSU after a yr
1995 19 12 (63%) 63/76 (83%) Woodson (NFL), Daydrion and Moltane to injury, Bowens transferred
1996 18 9 (50%) 51/72 (71%) Depth transfers.
1997 18 12 (67%) 59/72 (82%) McCall (lost to A-Train). Four guys kicked off the team
1998 18 14 (78%) 68/72 (94%) Terrell to NFL, Henson to AAA, Fargas to USC
1999 23 17 (74%) 80/92 (87%) Ryan Beard transfer, Shantee Orr to NFL, unrenewed Brackins
2000 18 13 (72%) 62/72 (86%) Zia Combs, Kolby Wells injuries. Benton DNQ.
2001 21 12 (57%) 66/84 (79%) Shazor/Ofili to NFL, Reid/Simelis injuries. Sanderson and Baraka dismissals.
2002 20 15 (75%) 74/80 (93%) Rembert & Gutierrez for PT. Berishaj medical. Harrison that whole thing.
2003 16 9 (56%) 47/64 (73%) Sharrow/Zuttah medicals. Mundy transfer. Presley dismissed. McCoy DNQ. C.Richard to MLB.
2004 22 11 (50%) 66/88 (75%) Branch/Arrington to NFL, Allison injury, PT transfers and lots of unrenewed 5ths in '08
2005 22 8 (36%) 63/88 (72%) Mario and Manbearfreak to NFL. Sears, Richards, McKinney, Germany, & FCK LION dismissed. Schifano, Zirbel, Criswell, McLaurin and Bass to injury
2006 18 12 (67%) 58/72 (81%) Boren. Also Cobrani Mixon.
2007 21 12 (57%) 63/84 (75%) Warren to NFL. Mallett, Clemons, Babb, guys transferred.
2008 24 12 (50%) 65/96 (68%) B.Smith, Wermers, O'Neill, Hill, McGuffie transferred; Cissoko, Feagin, Stonum dismissed; Spoon DNQ; Khoury, T-Rob, Cox no 5th.
2009 21 13 (68%) 61/84 (73%) Forcier, I.Bell dismissed; Witty DNQ; T.Jones medicaled; Stokes, Turner, LaLota, Emilien transfers
2010 26 11 (42%) 56/104 (54%) [Takes breath] DNQ: D.Rogers, Kinard, Conelius, Dorsey. Transfers: Cullen, Vinopal, Talbot22, Carvin, J-Rob, R.Miller, Hopkins. Dismissed: A.White. Injuries: Talbott, Pace. Tried football, didn't like it: Williamson
2011 19 13 (68%) 53/76 (70%) T.Posada, K.Jones, C.Barnett, G.Brown, C.Rock, T.Carter
2012 25 25 (100%) C/C (100%) --so far so good--
Average 410 251 (61%) 1,280 yrs of eligibility out of 1,640 yrs recruited (78%)

(Specialists & walk-ons removed, redshirting accounted for)

That high attrition from the RR classes is worrisome and kind, since it doesn't include things like All-American tackles likely headed to the NFL, or an expected unrenewed 5th next year, or the fate of several injured and/or not highly recruited guys looking up at increasingly un-scalable depth charts in the defensive front seven, or a punter on his fourth strike.


* Resources for the before times: DeSimone, MWolverine, SVijan, Bentley, old MaxPreps databases, crowdsourcing, and some sheets I printed off ESPN in the '90s to make my dynasties accurate.


It's also appreciably different from the kind of stuff Michigan weathered okay in the early Carr years, which was mostly playing time transfers of guys later in their careers who weren't going to contribute much and wanted a shot to play college football before they couldn't anymore. When Michigan got into depth chart trouble prior to the defensive back crisis of 2009-'10, it was because Henson took off leaving sophomore Navarre to man it too early, and because a generation of offensive linemen were wiped out by injuries in the early aughts.

Losing a star to the NFL hurts but it means having a star for a few years first. This is why I didn't want to just show the finish line stat that DeSimone keeps updated on his site, because it makes what happened to the 1993 class look like what happened to the 2010 class.

[After the jump it's a lineup of the usual attrition suspects, also verbs.]

I also broke down all of the attrition losses by type. I'm still not assuming guys are gone whom I assume are gone, but I'm now ignoring the 2012 class because nobody's left yet. The usual suspects:

Recruited during Era of... Grades/
Team Rules
Tran-sitions Transfers For PT, No-5ths, or Quit Early NFL Injuries Total Lost/
Mo (1993-'94) - - 18 (90%)* 1 (5%) 1 (5%) 20/41
Carr 19 (20%) 3 (3%) 46 (46%) 10 (10%) 20 (21%) 98/253
Rich Rod 12 (34%) 4 (11%) 16 (46%) - 3 (8%) 35/71
Hoke - - 6 (100%) - - 6/19
Totals 31 (20%) 7 (4%) 85 (54%) 11 (7%) 24 (7%) 159/385

* The %s shown are of the losses, not the whole classes.

More than half of the departures are due to impatience. It's also the one factor over which the coaches seem to have the most control (not recruiting academic risks does take care of the greater part of the grades/team rules column). And while a lot of it might signify scouting problems, sometimes it's best for both parties to move on and open up a scholarship in the next class.

O-line depth

Freshmen >>>> other things that've littered Michigan's OL depth charts in recent years.

Still, I suspect a lot of it should be happening later in careers rather than sooner, and this has not been the case. Focusing just on the transfers for personal and playing time reasons I've noticed the players seem to be making those decisions earlier in their careers. Here's the transfers I didn't attribute to the coaching changes:

Eligibility-> Freshmen Sophs Juniors Seniors Tot.Transfers
1993-'02 3 5 12 23 43
2003-present 14 8 8 13 43
Total 17 13 20 36 86

They're leaving with a lot more eligibility, if not at an unusual rate. That's not so much of a problem if they're replaced quickly. You'll note before each of these defections there's suddenly been extra offers going out, to the point where I'm guessing there's some upcoming LB attrition simply based on the staff increasing the LB spots available in the upcoming class.

Errata: I've put the data up so you can debate me on things, like was the defensive back exodus based on Christian/Turner/Emilien et al. not being good enough to play, or all hands abandoning the U.S.S. Gibson; I think their careers since and that some of them followed Gibson to Pitt are strong evidence for the former hypothesis. I've got Christian as a "personal transfer" FWIW. I don't know whether to count Mike Williams as unrenewed 5th or injury (he's with the latter). Marrell Evans coming back didn't register since he never got eligible.

So? We've Got Hoke Recruits.

This has been the refrain from most Michigan fans including Brian Cook. I think at best you can expect 80% of a recruiting class to be serviceable within four years, and you're lucky if 25% of that class is ready to go within a year of arriving on campus.

2013 depthchartHeavy attrition in the 2009 and 2010 classes followed by the relatively scant 2011 class has put a lot of pressure on the latest classes to fill the 2013 depth chart. Expected attrition over this offseason, at best, leaves the roster with 17 players left from the 2009 and 2010 classes, among them guys like Paskorz, Wilkins, Furman, Ash and M-Rob who have yet to make significant contributions. Given the expected depth chart at right you can see how heavily the underclassmen are fitting in. There's eight projected starters from the 2012 class, and another 15 on the two-deep that'll have to come from the 2012 and 2013 hauls.

Getting specific, the wide receiver departures scare me. So long as Jerald Robinson and to a lesser degree Miller were on the roster there was a faint hope of them putting it together as upperclassmen, as upperclassmen tend to do all the friggin' time. Behind Gallon and Dileo is Jeremy Jackson, Darboh and Chesson, and whatever Michigan can get to sign by this February. The offensive line you already know about; at least one freshman and probably many will see the field, and there's a lot of pressure on those deemed to be ready to be effective. Like if Jack Miller is too small or Schofield can't handle left tackle… The interior DL looks okay among the starters but needs some freshmen to step in as rotation guys. The young linebackers seem to be okay.

As before, the problems seemed to be more inherited than caused by the incoming staff. But when you're making your predictions for 2013, I recommend keeping them scaled to the youth of the team. There's a lot that can go wrong.



December 18th, 2012 at 10:46 AM ^

I know that there have been coaching changes that helped increase these numbers, but losing 41% of recruits from Mo through Hoke so far (159/385) seems awfully high. Do we know if these numbers are on par with other programs throughout the country?


December 18th, 2012 at 11:22 AM ^

Notre Dame is similar to Michigan in terms of academics and football profile but has had especially bad coaching and coaching transitions lately. Ohio, perhaps? They have not had anything equivalent to the RR transition, and you might imagine that there are fewer academic casualties there.


December 18th, 2012 at 10:50 AM ^

So all this begs the question: when can we expect to not be young anymore? With the exception of the 2011 O and D lines, it seems we've been constantly saying "this is a young team." Can the current staff convince players to stick it out in their underclass years? Because the current players didn't commit to the current staff, I can understand the troubles of doing that with some of the recent departures. But it's still not encouraging that we're getting underclassmen leaving when their one injury from starting. When does it stop?


December 18th, 2012 at 11:26 AM ^

just because of the recruiting upgrades to the O and D lines and linebackers, and the use of tight ends.  That's about 60% of the team where not nearly enough of RRs recruits (with notable exceptions) are/were good enough to compete with Hoke's younger guys.  So one suspects that in 2014 we'll have an O-line dominated by redshirt sophs and a defensive front seven stacked with true sophs and juniors.  Nothing at all wrong with this and the kids who transfer will not do so because of a "lack of patience" as much as a desire to compete legitimately for PT.


December 18th, 2012 at 1:18 PM ^

I have a hard time believing that Beyer won't be on the field in some capacity, whether as a SDE or WDE.  He went from #2 SAM in 2011 to #1 WDE in 2012 as a sophomore.  Expecting him to fall off the map by the time he's a senior is sort of a stretch.  Even if Clark surpasses him, Beyer should be a key backup somewhere.


December 18th, 2012 at 11:40 AM ^

I think you will see some more attrition in about 2 years from the current 2012-2013 o-line classes, particularly if we take 6 this year. Once the hierarchy of who is the best is sorted out, lets say Fox (chosen solely because his name was easiest to spell) finds himself as the clear backup between 2-3 players at the same position with only one year class separation. If he still feels that he is an NFL prospect he may decide he is better served getting PT elsewhere. Fortunately we will have an established, quality line at that point and such attrition will help even out the "hit" that will occur if all stayed and graduated over a 2 year span.

This would be closer to the Carr-era type of attrition and as noted is a pitfall of bringing in boatloads of high level recruits. This is also why you do not see this level of attrition at schools like MSU. (Couldn't resist)

the unsilent m…

December 18th, 2012 at 11:16 AM ^

...to illustrate the need for patience for the next couple of years.  At least this time, IMO, it feels like the staff is re-building the program.  In other words, not only are they bringing in high-quality football players, the staff also appears to be focused on character.  Perhaps this will help with the attrition issues we are now seeing..(?)    


December 18th, 2012 at 12:14 PM ^

In other words, not only are they bringing in high-quality football players, the staff also appears to be focused on character.

I'm confused by this statement because it seems to imply that the previous staff wasn't focused on character and you'll excuse me, the past couple of seasons we've seen some players pass through the program who will be legendary not only for their talent, but for the quality of their character (Denard, Kovacs, Molk, VanBergen, Martin, etc.)

Ali G Bomaye

December 18th, 2012 at 12:40 PM ^

There are exceptions to every rule, but the only one of the players you mentioned who was recruited by RR is Denard (and he's great).

Molk committed to Michigan on 8/3/06, RVB committed on 12/8/06, Martin committed on 6/5/07, and Kovacs wasn't recruited (he was accepted to Michigan off the wait list in June 2008).  So all those guys were either Carr recruits or guys who just showed up.

Meanwhile, RR sure seemed to recruit a high number of players who washed out because of academic or personal reasons.  Just off the top of my head, there was Demar Dorsey, Conelius Jones, Tate Forcier, Je'Ron Stokes, Justin Turner, and Austin White.  I'm sure I'm missing some others.  As this post indicates, when players transferred under Carr/Moeller, it was generally because of playing time issues, which means that we already had somebody better.  When guys leave for personal reasons, it might leave a gaping hole on the roster.


December 18th, 2012 at 12:16 PM ^

I think one of the new requirements for players is going to be character. I think Home and co. would rather have a four star hard worker and good team mate than a 5 star diva. recruiting seems to reflect this. I have started to think that if Hoke backs off a guy he has got a good reason. Team chemistry can count more than star rank.


December 18th, 2012 at 11:21 AM ^

I'm curious about who drew up the projected 2013 depth chart. Seth? Brian?

My completely irrelevant thoughts about the 2013 depth chart:

  • I doubt we will see Bosch, LTT or Kugler in the two deep on the OL (although Kugler probably has the best chance). Expect lots of walk-ons at second string on the OL in 2013. It looks like Bars and Braden are reversed as Braden is likely only an OT while Bars is probably an interior OL.
  • I don't think Pipkins will play at DT. I expect him to back up QWash next season. I would only expect them to both be on the field at the same time for goal-line/short yardage situations. I'm not exactly sure who WILL play DT. Black? Henry?
  • I would be surprised to see Wormley start at SDE next season coming off of his ACL injury. I think it will be Heitzman/Strobel (or Black if he isn't at DT).
  • I think Clark or Ojemudia gets the nod at SDE. UM really needs to get some pass rush from the DE's next season and Beyer is mostly a run-stopper.
  • I think the Safety positions are reversed. Wilson at FS and Gordon at SS. God help us if MRob or Furman see significant snaps at either Safety spot.

Note: These are my thoughts for the beginning of the season. I could see some younger (and more talented) guys getting increased reps (e.g. moving into the two deep) at the end of the year.


December 18th, 2012 at 11:28 AM ^

Yeah, Wilson is more of a FS than Gordon.

I don't think "a lot" of walk-ons will be on the two-deep.  The only one that seems like a truly viable candidate is Burzynski.  I haven't been impressed by Glasgow in what I've seen of him at guard, but maybe he's better at center.  The other walk-on guys aren't people you want in the game at crucial points.  A freshman or redshirt freshman would probably still be better off.


December 18th, 2012 at 11:46 AM ^

There is also a difference between the true "2-deep" and who will play in a game situation. Kalis was on the 2-deep all year IIRC but never saw game-time to preserve his red-shirt. If we had seen a year-ending injury and needed a full time replacement he would have played, hence his position on the 2-deep. --or he wasn't and I am a moron.


December 18th, 2012 at 11:59 AM ^

I think Morris is another example of the 2-deep 'inaccuracy'. Assuming DG gets his RS, I would bet the coaches will TRY to use Bellomy for spot-duty to save the RS for Shane. Unlike last year however, the actual 2nd QB will not be taking reps at safety or any other position if there comes a time that he is truly needed.


December 18th, 2012 at 1:51 PM ^

Just me. I went by some of my own judgments and also where the coaches have put players on the two-deep. The only one I'm not sure of is SDE but that's going to be an all-out war between Black, Wormley and Heitzman, and Wormley was winning that same battle before his injury.

On the O-line, whatever, the center is going to be Buryzinski or Miller or bust so pegging a freshman on the two-deep is just as accurate as saying a walk-on or this other freshman is going to play there. Same at OT. Accuracy is not needed; the point is any way you put them that the OL two-deep will have more than a few faces that seldom need razors.

With Wilson I agree he's more a FS than an SS but there's a couple things going on here. One is Mattison prefers to have his safeties be interchangeable, and went away from that to emphasize Kovacs this year. Unless M-Rob blossoms into a Kovacs this offseason, going forward there really won't be that much distinction between the two. The other thing here is the Jamar Adams-Brandent Englemon principle. Gordon is a similar player to Englemon, while I sometimes accidentally call Jarrod Wilson "Jamar" because they're both tall sticks who wear 22. However Adams ended up playing "strong" and Englemon was "free" because Englemon was the headier player and Adams the better athlete, and Michigan had great linebackers to handle the tackling, so it was better for Michigan to either put Adams in pass pro, having him line up against the slot, or be a blitz threat. So this is my guess for what the coaches plan next year: move Jamarrod Wilsonadams into Kovac's old spot and then change the role of that position from run game safety valve to something that punishes teams who dare try to pass against us.

Other than that I think your concept of our defensive line is way too small given a schedule full of teams with bad QBs, worse receivers, and punishing or scary run games. When Black lined up at 3-tech this year he often just got put on skates because he's not big enough. Even with a year more to grow I think his ceiling is poor man's Brandon Graham, not rich man's Norman Heuer. Roh was too good at that spot to move last year but with him gone it seems to me that Black is purpose-built for it. As for the DT positions most of the time we're going to want guys who can suck up doubles and stay at nose if the offense flips its formation more than pass-rush specialists. A line of Ojemudia-Black-Washington-Clark is more of a passing down novelty than a solid base formation. Plus the strength of this defense is athletic, decisive outside linebackers, so it seems to make more sense to cause a perpetual stalemate at the line and let the LBs clean up than a strategy of gambling on the DL to get penetration most of the time. More 1997 than 2006 is what I'm saying.

Ron Utah

December 18th, 2012 at 11:30 AM ^

We are going to be extremely young next year--without a doubt the youngest team in the upper echelon of college football.  We won't have experience + talent until 2014, and that's another year of tough scheduling...

A couple of items worth exploring:

  • The attrition in recent years seems overwhelmingly focused on a few positions: RB, WR, and DB.  RB and WR are really no surprise--the skillset required by Hoke/Borges at these positions is vastly different from what RR desired.  But DB?  If you can cover and keep your assignments, you can play.  It seems that we managed to recruit a bunch of ding-dongs at this position.  From the '09 class, 5/6 DBs are gone, with Thomas Gordon being the only survivor.  From that same class, 2/3 RBs actually made it (Toussaint and Smith) and 1/2 WRs.
  • 2010 is a different story...both RBs are gone (White and Hopkins), only 2/5 WRs stayed (Dileo and Jackson), and 5/7 DBs left.
  • 2011 has 3/5 DBs contributing: Taylor, Countess, and Hollowell, with 2 leaving.  Both RBs are here (Rawls and Hayes) and should be solid contributors next year.  3/4 LBs made it, with Kellen Jones mysteriously disappearing (academics?).
  • Using my crystal ball, here is who I think might not make it from the 2012 class: Ringer (injury), Gant, and Jeremy Clark.  That's two more DBs, which I think is one of the toughest positions to scout, because the mental part of the game is so important. But most of the other players from the 2012 class will be important contributors next season, making us VERY young (as noted).
  • The 2013 class is loaded.  As good as 2012's haul was, it doesn't really compare to 2013.  I would expect 13-16 multi-year starters and at least 6 players to be drafted, with another 2-3 getting signed as free agents.  There are probably going to be 20!!! solid contributors from this class.  That is amazing.

I think attrition for 2012 and 2013 will be uncharacteristically low, and we'll go back to having a fair amount (6 per year or so) of attrition starting with the 2014 class, because playing time will be tougher to come by.  Of the 6 I expect we'll average, I'm guessing 2-3 of those are academics/team rules/quit football and 3-4 are playing time.


Seattle Maize

December 18th, 2012 at 12:37 PM ^

Yeah we will definitely young. We will also be more talented. All the attrition that we have had is related to this as we are losing people who don't fit our program for some reason or another. Not that there is anything wrong with who is leaving and they are not being pushed out, but they are being replaced by much more talented players. I think what some people forget is that we are in the middle of a massive rebuilding job from the 07-10 years/recruiting cycles. Now that is not all RR but he is certainly the biggest factor. Many thought that we were set up to come out of that lull with a talented team but the reality is that these have been the least talented michigan teams in a long, long time. This has been masked by 11-2 last year and a defense that is playing with much more physicality and technique, but the fact remains that we are in the middle of a rebuild and will be much, much better in 1-2 years.

Wolverine 73

December 18th, 2012 at 11:32 AM ^

but I think this will calm down as Hoke and his staff enter their 3d and 4th years of recruiting and coaching at Michigan.  Everyone seems more impatient about everything these days, and it is easy to see kids getting frustrated with changes in coaches and philosophies combined with a lack of playing time.  But when you have stability, it is easier for kids to stay with the program and perhaps to blossom as juniors or even seniors.  Brian Griese comes to mind as someone who did.  Adrian Arrington wasn't much of a contributor until his last year (although he did forego his senior season).  Certainly there are many others.


December 18th, 2012 at 11:41 AM ^

Some attrition is better than others. When a mediocre or non-contributor leaves, it might actually be a good thing. That player is no longer taking up a scholarship, and it can be offered to someone else.

Jerald Robinson was good attrition. There was ample evidence that he wasn't going to make a big contribution. It's better to have the scholarship available for someone else.

Darryl Stonum was really, really bad attrition. He was a star player at a position of need, and because of a stupid mistake off the football field, he was unavailable when Michigan could have used him.

I haven't worked out how to "score" these cases, but a crude measurement of how much value was lost seems to me more important than just counting people who left.


December 18th, 2012 at 12:01 PM ^

2014 or bust!

Also I wanted your opinion on how much the OL attrition during the later Lloyd years was responsible for things like Henne Being Sacked 7 Times In A Rose Bowl and Rueben Riley At Tackle versus the coaching problems of Andy Moeller et al? I didn't realize Moeller was in the league coaching OL. That plus these numbers make me wonder if I blamed coaching overly.

Also also: Carr lost a lot of dudes to injury. Gittleson FTL?


December 18th, 2012 at 2:36 PM ^

The spate of OL injuries in the 2000s wasn't really related to Gittleson. It was more like the stuff that people get that makes them not able to do sports. Zuttah's thing was made public but I used to chat with Simelis when he was working as a bouncer at the Heidelberg and his thing wasn't really an on-field injury either. I think there was another OL who had some sort of bone thing. It was just bad luck.


December 18th, 2012 at 8:56 PM ^

is the 2016 class going to have 35 kids in it with 2015 redshirts included?

S. Morris, D. Smith, W. Shallman, J. Dukes, C. York, J. Chesson*, D. Jones, K. Hill, J. Butt, B. Braden*, E. Magnuson*, C. Fox, L. Tuley-Tillman, K. Kalis*, B. Bars*, K. Bosch, D. Dawson, P. Kugler, M. Godin*, W. Henry*, M. Hurst Jr., H. Poggi, C. Wormley*, T. Strobel*, T. Charlton, M. McCray, B. Gedeon, K. Ringer*, J. Lewis, C. Stribling, R. Douglas, D. Hill, J. Clark*, D. Thomas, S. Sypniewski

That's almost 1/2 the scholarships in a single class. Hopefully we can get some good retention out of these kids and have a few years of rock solid stability.


December 20th, 2012 at 8:08 AM ^

Is good, but flawed. On the depth chart, you will always see a high number of freshmen as the previous years redshirts mix with a full class. Some of the incoming class will inevitably be on the 2017 team, however. That'll bump you into the 20s. Then a normal attrition of maybe 3 or 4 of the kids should bump you even lower on the list of 2016 seniors. But yeah, it always starts high like that.