Michigan Museday Commits Early

Submitted by Seth on February 21st, 2012 at 8:22 AM


Content note: I'll come back to Manball Matrix next time. I thought this was more timely. Note II: So you won't miss another commitment, while reading this article you are advised to hit refresh on your browser at regular intervals.

It was a commit-a-palooza unlike Michigan had seen since scholarship offers were sent by telegram and a signing ceremony was when a young player stepped off the platform of Kerrytown Station to serenades by hawkers, haberdashers, and hazing-minded upperclassman. Within one week of Michigan's annual summer camp, seven players were moved to end their recruitments and commit to the Wolverines' Class of 2004:

Name Pos State Ht Wt Rivals Scout RR Committed
Chris Rogers LB/DE PA 6'3" 240 4 3 5.8 6/15/2003
Will Johnson DT MI 6'4" 285 4 4 5.9 6/18/2003
Roger Allison FB/LB MI 6'2" 230 3 4 5.6 6/18/2003
Grant DeBenedictis OL FL 6'5" 270 3 3 5.5 6/20/2003
Charles Stewart DB MI 6'1" 188 3 3 5.7 6/20/2003
Alex Mitchell OL MI 6'5" 310 4 3 5.9 6/20/2003
Mike Hart RB NY 5'10" 175 3 3 5.7 6/21/2003

The verbal explosion was mostly camp commits, i.e. guys who impressed enough to earn an offer which they immediately accepted. In an age when mid-June was still quite early to be filling nearly half of a class, Commit-a-Palooza '03 was remarkable. With Morgan Trent and Max Martin this was 9 of eventually 22 signed.

[Quick: two more recruits probably just pledged; hit refresh now!]

Michigan later filled that class with Henne, Jamar Adams, Alan Branch, Jamison, Arrington, and a lot more roster fodder who appeared unremarkably in early UFRs, or didn't. At the time I wrote an email I just spent way too much time trying to find that talked about early signees of years prior. The point was to temper the post-euphoric expectations of pre-Facebook friends by showing how previous early birds had a greater chance of busting, what with all the offseasons, lifting clubs, and senior years between now and National Signing Day. Then I proved myself inconclusive.


With an 8-man commit-fest that forced me to put time stamps in my database to keep track of % of class filled, and which puts the '03 bonanza to shame [refresh reminder], let's try it again. Here's the players, classes 2003 to 2011 in my database who committed to Michigan at least 50 weeks before National Signing Day:

Name Pos State Ht Wt RR Committed Class Rivals Scout
Delonte Hollowell DB MI 5'8" 162 5.7 1/17/2010 2011 3 3
Ricardo Miller WR MI 6'2" 208 5.7 9/29/2008 2010 3 4
Jeremy Jackson WR MI 6'3" 194 5.5 10/1/2008 2010 3 3
Jerald Robinson WR OH 6'2" 175 5.7 2/9/2009 2010 3 4
William Campbell DT MI 6'5" 317 6.1 6/20/2007 2009 5 5
Boubacar Cissoko DB MI 5'9" 171 6 2/4/2007 2008 4 5
Vince Helmuth RB MI 6'1" 235 5.5 1/29/2006 2007 3 4
Artis Chambers DB IN 6'2" 185 5.6 2/19/2006 2007 3 3
Kevin Grady RB MI 5'10" 230 6.1 9/7/2003 2005 5 5
Justin Schifano OL NY 6'5" 300 5.8 1/15/2004 2005 4 4
Mario Manningham WR OH 6'0" 174 6 2/5/2004 2005 4 4
Morgan Trent WR MI 6'1" 180 5.8 2/10/2003 2004 4 4

I didn't include several guys who later decommitted, but I did count Will Campbell, who verbaled to Michigan in June of 2007 (!) and a year later decided to lead Rodriguez on a merry chase until 5 weeks to NSD. Many of these guys—Hollowell, Helmuth, Chambers, Trent—committed on the offer after Junior Day.Jerald-Robinson


Well there's Mario, and…well that's a lot of guys who didn't or haven't lived up to their hype. Schifano gave up football, Grady was overrated before he was the guy you could count on to get Michigan at least a mention in the Fulmer Cup, Chambers and Helmuth were whiffs, Cissoko … his thing, and these days the extent of our Campbell and Ricardo dreams are Gabe Watson and Tim Massaquoi.

Busts can come from any time, and this is a small sample of early RR and late Lloyd recruits who didn't have the pedigrees of the solid-to-high 4-stars Hoke is bringing in. Taking out kickers, players with more than half of their eligibility left, guys who didn't qualify, guys who lost their best years to injury before we could get a feel for their evaluation, and proprietors of Fck Lions, here's the apparent success rates by when they committed:

Weeks to NSD OvRtd +/-1* UnRtd Success Rate Avg Diff Tot
50 or more 4 6 -- 60.0% -0.95 12
40 to 49 5 10 -- 66.7% -0.50 17
30 to 39 3 22 1 88.5% -0.29 35
20 to 29 7 15 1 69.6% -0.52 27
10 to 19 4 9 -- 69.2% -0.31 17
5 to 9 5 25 1 83.9% -0.52 36
1 to 4 1 8 -- 88.9% -0.22 19
Week of NSD 5 18 2 80.0% -0.26 29
Totals/Avgs 34 113 5 77.6% -0.43 192

"OvRtd" (overrated) to me means guys who probably should have been pegged at 1.5 or more stars below their Scout/Rivals average. "UnRtd" means 1.5 or more stars and were, in order, Hart, Molk, Branch, Englemon and Omemeh. Google Doc here so you rip apart my totally subjective ratings. "Total" on right includes the guys I cut out so you can see the flow of a recruiting year before the Hoke era. FYI 30 to 39 week corresponds to about May-June.

[Refresh now anyway.]

Does this mean anything for the flood of early pledges this week, or much of this year's class for that matter? I don't really think so, no. Mostly what this says is that Michigan had a ton of busts over the last decade of recruiting, and that juniors who commit immediately upon receiving a camp offer are seldom primo athletes.

As of now Michigan has filled approximately half of its projected Class of 2013, (figuring on 22 total) at a point in the cycle when traditionally only about 6 percent of the class has taken shape. A look at previous 50-percent points demonstrates just how unprecedented this is for Michigan:

Year Commits Avg Stars 50% Full By Days to NSD Final Scout Rk Final Rivals Rk
2013 11 4.1 2/19/2012 352 n/a n/a
2012 13 3.6 6/10/2011 235 4 7
2011 10 3.3 1/20/2011 13 29 21
2010 14 3.3 6/20/2009 228 12 20
2009 11 3.6 8/31/2008 157 14 8
2008 12 3.8 7/31/2007 190 6 10
2007 10 3.6 8/24/2006 161 10 12
2006 10 3.5 12/4/2005 59 9.5 13
2005 12 3.5 12/7/2004 57 2 6
2004 11 3.6 8/7/2003 175 5 5
2003 8 3.8 12/10/2002 57 8 17

A handful of these 2013 guys—maybe one or two more than of a class put together later in the year—will probably disappoint from their lofty rankings. This is an inevitability. In fact count on a few never making it to campus, because 17-year-olds change their minds exactly as fast as popular music turns over. But then when you add up that attrition and apply it to the class that formed over the weekend, it's still shaping up to be one of the best incoming groups since Yost was greeting his freshmen at the train station.

So hit refresh one more time, because it only gets better from here.



February 21st, 2012 at 8:29 AM ^

Don't mean to be dickish, but we don't want to piss anyone off!

Interesting article though.  This was the most explosive weekend I can remember and for it to come so early in the year is amazing.  One might say, "Tremendous"!!!


February 21st, 2012 at 10:00 AM ^

I accept your unscientific data, it does the job. I do admit I do have some concerns with all of these early recruits. As I'm sure anyone that has been in a long term  relationship can attest, things change when you get settled in. You start gaining comfort weight, you start letting yourself go. I just hope that these kids stay extremely hungry and keep thinking they have something to prove, despite being in a "committed relationship" to Michigan. When you're so young a lot of important development goes on every single year and if they're not getting better they can fall behind.


February 21st, 2012 at 10:48 AM ^

But looking at your early commitment list, aren't a good portion of them 3*'s, who you wouldn't expect to light up the world? And, at least up until recently, wasn't it more likely that a 3*-type-substance would commit early, to assure a spot, and high 4 or 5* guys would wait for the accolades of signing day?  I think you'd have to see if our middle 3* recruits had a higher success rate than the early ones. (I would guess later ones might be underrated late bloomers).

Because looking at the list, you have a bunch of recent 3*'s who you wouldn't expect to contribute much till they were upper classmen (and a couple of them might still have a chance). Then we've got the ever hopeful Will, Boubacar who was playing as a freshman, not great, but playing, and probably would have been a decen player but for his off the field issues (which unless your theory is that by getting him after his senior year his problems would have been more apparent...).  Some more 3*'s, a 5*'s that never lived up to the hype but would have been taken at any time, and 3 more 4*'s. Of the 4*'s, you have one who didn't wow, one star, and one guy you completely ignored, but was a pretty good player. He's not that popular around here, but was in the NFL last season.  If you're getting a career in the NFL out of a 4*, I'd say that's a success.  So I don't know how much more he has to do to live up to the hype. Just because he was a fan whipping boy when he played around here (and after he left) doesn't mean he wasn't good.


The moving "Hello" gif is genius though.


February 21st, 2012 at 11:24 AM ^

I have less against Trent than most. I agree he was every bit the 4-star. In fact I think I made him a 4.5 in my reevaluation. I just avoided discussing him. Lower in the article I get into the HUGE difference in star rating between these guys and the ones previous. Note they're 5.8's and 5.9's and 6.0's where a lot of the 3-stars were not even high 3 stars.

Khalid Hill is kind of where Helmuth was, but he's a major outlier in this class and from the things coaches are saying about Hill--who seems to leave Molkian impressions on the people who've met him--if he's the worse player in this class then this is going to be one hell of a class!


February 21st, 2012 at 11:58 AM ^

Well there's Mario, and…well that's a lot of guys who didn't or haven't lived up to their hype.

Not insinuating that there was any personal animosity. And I didn't think you were saying "BEWARE" with the current recruits....you flat out say you aren't in the post.  Just that I was curious how much of the early "problem" was that they were to a great extent 3*'s (thus actually backing your point on the current commits) or if there was any great inconsistency where early 3*'s played like 3*'s and not better, but guys of that ranking who committed later were more likely to exceed expectations. If it's the same, then 3*<4-5* (yeah, duh).  If there's difference, then early 3*<late 3*.  (Or even the reverse, conceivably, though that doesn't seem as likely).

The problem with guys like Hill is you're using the signing day ratings in the past, and we're stuck with just the early ratings now. If Hoke has found something no one else has seen due to camp, proximity, or whatever, Hill could move up to a low 4* by signing day.  (However, it's possible with a week senior season one of our many 4*'s could move down too, adding more data). 


February 21st, 2012 at 12:10 PM ^


So what I did on the Google Doc is a 3-star who plays like a 4.5-star (a 3rd round NFL draft pick give or take, e.g. RVB) is a "+1.5" -- obviously a 5-star recruit can't be so much as a "+0.5" and that's why the average is generally negative. Because of my system for this, it actually benefits the lower-rated classes.

You're right about the final rankings versus early rankings. I don't have a record of that without doing some serious research which I'm disinclined to undertake without a grant.


February 21st, 2012 at 12:36 PM ^

You're not our stat whipping boy.  Just saying that it's hard to point to any current guys being ranked anything till we have the comparative rankings to compare. I mean, where would you even choose from? They committed at different times...their rankings go up and down all year...and that's just now. Back then, there's hardly anything to go by.


February 21st, 2012 at 11:03 AM ^

That 4.1 avg is truely amazing. I think in the past all the early ones are more like Khalid Hill. Where he is lucky for a spot and wants to lock it up. We wouldn't expect such a high success rate with those types of commits. But he 4.1 is great, these are high 4 stars some borderline 5 stars.

Why did hoke have to go for Khalid Hill, he is messing up his perfect class?(Khalid Hill will probably be a star just because his low ranking)

I am little worried that these kids won't have the drive to develop like they could their Senior year once they are commited.


February 21st, 2012 at 11:43 AM ^

I think the other variable not considered here is this coaching staff, and particularly their ability to recognize talent... particularly rising talent.  I suspect at least a couple of these guys will be 5-stars when all is said and done.  Related to that is the ability to pick players that will fit into a needed role on the team, regardless of star level.  I think Norfleet will turn out to be an excellent example of that for 2012.

Also, it's hard to look back over the last 10 years at players' outcomes just because of the coaching/system changes.

I worry about attrition... particularly the battle with Meyer.  If he decides to go after Butt or Charlton, we may have some defectors on our hands... I hope not.

All and all, I agree with the conclusion that the net effect of signing so many highly rated recruits so early can only be a positive one in the long run.


February 21st, 2012 at 1:42 PM ^

Anti-Paul sentiment is very revisionist. Surely when one reflexively sez "Paul sucks" one is not including "I Saw Her Standing There", "And I Love Her", "I've Just Seen a Face", "Fixing a Hole"... I gotta stop, I'm just too lazy to type more.
To the original point of the question: Shane is WAY more Paul than John, personality-wise, so let's hope Paul-bashers can get behind this "Paul".. he's helping put together a smash-hit group of young men!