More fun with rosters! With signing day behind us I've updated my spreadsheets and the associated interactive chart. Behold: the 2019 class contextualized against every Michigan recruit since 1990:
You can mouseover the big yellow bubbles to get a sense where each guy fits against previous Michigan players in the recruiting rankings. But let's still dig out each player to understand the context of his scouting. The full data are here.
QB Cade McNamara
The style of quarterback who uses his legs and is constantly being asked about his height is now considered a "Pro Style" quarterback, especially if he commits to Harbaugh, though it's not hard to find the guy Cade McNamara most reminds us of. Cade is a clear rung down from Tate's Top-150ish ratings, and for good reason. However Michigan's lone QB recruit in this class is still strongly above the 4-star line. Despite the other comps being substantially different players, the boom/bust nature of his ranking is evident in the range of success you see around him.
[After THE JUMP: The position you were dreading]
RB Zach Charbonnet
Right, things don't look as bad from out here. Charbonnet is just barely below the position where Michigan's five-star curse can reach him. Michigan's hit rate on top RBs in the last few decades is much lower than the national hit rate, but by extending "modern" to "since Bo" you can offset the bad luck with the early '90s backfield. You'll note A-Train (#2 RB to National Recruiting Advisor and Lemming but just the #12 player in Louisiana to Superprep) just missed the window here, but Ty Wheatley is about Charbonnet's size and current level of hype. Given the film—which is a far better than Grady's or Green's—the floor here seems to be a Ty Isaac, with a ceiling of very long runs that your Washington friends remember as much as you do.
Slot WRs: Giles Jackson, Mike Sainristil, and George Johnson III
For this group I'm just going to show you all the slot-like objects Michigan's recruited since three-wide formations were a normal thing. There aren't a lot of them. Some, like Jeremy Gallon and Tae Odoms, and Roy Roundtree, were recruited as slot types but ended up pure outside receivers. There are also a bunch of Gary Moeller's "flankers"—shorter/faster guys recruited to fill the role blazed by Anthony Carter and Desmond Howard that shares many characteristics with modern slot receivers. However, I left the blue chips expected to play inside or out (Seth Smith, Mercury Hayes, Tyrone Butterfield) with the general receivers.
So. Giles Jackson's comp is Steve Breaston, minus many inches, since Breaston never converted that height into a downfield threat in college, but his speed and agility made him a weapon on crossing routes and as a returner. Martavious Odoms is another good comp, though I want to save Tae for George Johnson. Then there's Mike Sainristil, an enigma because he played in Massachusetts but another player in that oeuvre.
Wide Receiver Cornelius Johnson
Given the 2017 foursome will mostly be in their last seasons when this class are coming off redshirts, Cornelius Johnson was an important find. I think Rivals has him so low because they refuse to acknowledge the existence of camps they're not a part of, however he still averaged over the 4-star mark that seems incredibly important given the breakdown above. Amara Darboh is the comparison we're going to make until CJ gets his own tape: burly, fast enough, and capable of some highlight reel plays.
Michigan has historically recruited a lot of highly ranked receivers so other comps like Tarik Black, Greg Matthews, Junior Hemingway or Jason Avant are out of CJ's range: those were all more like Top-150 guys and Cornelius is more Top-250. Of course there are a few NFL players if you scroll down as well.
Wide Receiver Quintel Kent
That's the bottom of the WR recruiting and if Ronnie Bell hadn't popped I'd be saying things like "Jehu Chesson minus 3 inches" or "Russell Shaw" for Kent. Fortunately this staff recruited a guy out of the woods last year. On the other hand, "The woods" for Ronnie Bell was "playing basketball in Kansas City" while Kent was at a Cleveland area powerhouse.
Tight End Erick All
When Erick All committed he was a nobody three-star and we were saying "trust the staff" based on their record of finding very good tight ends in strange places. Over his senior year—and I'm sure the Michigan commitment helped—All seemed to climb his way up everybody's boards to settle in around Nick Eubanks as a solid, just-under-four-star prospect. Like Eubanks, All appears to be a receiver type but a willing blocker, though Adam reported he was impressed with All's blocking (his team doesn't throw very much). I liked Martell Webb as a player but he was a receiver who grew a chest as a senior—All is more of a Sean McKeon but from somewhere the scouts had time to look at him.
The other guys around him aren't much help—Michael Massey was projected as a DE, Webb and Miller were receivers who got too big.
Center Nolan Rumler
There are no sure things when projecting centers—and Rumler might just be a guard—but I'm putting him in here because other than "sure thing" Patrick Kugler these high-ish four-stars tend to work out. Rumler isn't on Cesar Ruiz's level as a recruit, but he's in that David Baas area where he's projected to play inside because he's very good and very smart, and already close to playing weight, but also will join the team when Michigan's interior OL doesn't need him to play right away.
Guards Karsen Barnhart and Zach Carpenter
Barnhart and Carpenter are really in two different zones for future offensive guards. Karsen Barnhart is just barely behind that four-star range for guys who played tackle in high school and take a bit of projection but are expected to be at least decent guards, not world eaters. Michigan got a lot of snaps out of similar players over the years. Some, like Steve Frazier, Adam Adkins, and Ben Mast were fine, while Ciulla and Moosman were more marginal.
Zach Carpenter is more in that big mauler vein of a Leo Henige, Matt Lentz, Chris Bryant, or Courtney Morgan. I believe sites have gotten more wise about projecting the type of kid who reaches 300+ in high school as a college prospect instead of grading him on how well he sits on people who can't shave yet, so you can squint Courtney Morgan down to about what we expect from Carpenter.
Guard Jack Stewart
Discount Karsen Barnhart. Or Joel Honigford, basically. Another comp is Pat Sharrow, who was in line to start in 2005 but injuries wrecked his career.
Tackles Trevor Keegan and Trente Jones
The flipside to recruiting sites getting more skeptical of 6'4"/330 high school "tackles" is they're getting better now at projecting 6'6"/280 tackles who will grow into outside roles. Both 2019 tackle recruits are firmly in that sphere. Trevor Keegan is more of a huge dude—Michigan moved Chuck Filiaga to guard but Filiaga would be just under Mason Cole as a fair idea of how the scouts see Keegan at the same point. Matt Lentz is another interior guy you could comp to Keegan. Outside he seems like the type you break down then build back up again and see what you've got. Logan Tuley-Tillman, if not for his off-field discretion, was tracking that way.
I'm more excited about Trente Jones, who's not as tall as Jake Long or Taylor Lewan were, but has a lot of their characteristics—Michael Schofield or Adam Stenavich or Thomas Guynes or James Hudson but doesn't hate practicing would all be very fine results.