Phoneboothin': How Many Cornerbacks Can We Fit?

Submitted by Brian on November 25th, 2009 at 12:45 PM

CORRECTION Phone Booth Stunt Wednesday Recruitin' is coming right up but there is one major question yet to be answered that will greatly impact the final disposition/rank of the class: how many guys can they fit?

Michigan brought in a ton of kids this weekend there are solid rumors that a number of the committed but are waiting to announce. The issue: Michigan is currently sitting at 22 commitments after FL CB Adrian Witty officially qualified and PA CB Cullen Christian committed. In addition, the entire planet expects FL DE Clarence Murphy and FL CB Tony Grimes' signing day announcement to be a mere formality. That would leave one spot before Michigan runs up against the NCAA-mandated 25-per-class maximum.

Teams have been getting around this for years by enrolling a few kids early and counting them against the last class, something the NCAA rulebook specifically provides for. Diarist Umhero has pored through the 2009-2010 NCAA manual and finds the bylaw that governs early enrollment:

15.5.6.3.2 Recruited Student-Athlete Entering after Fall Term, Aided in First Year. [FBS/FCS] A student-athlete recruited by the awarding institution who enters after the first term of the academic year and immediately receives institutional financial aid (based in any degree on athletics ability) shall be an initial counter for either the current academic year (if the institution’s annual limit has not been reached) or the next academic year. The student-athlete shall be included in the institution’s total counter limit during the academic year in which the aid was first received.

This is part of this year's NCAA manual and is unchanged from last year.

The reason Umhero went over all this is that GBW recruiting guru Sam Webb has repeatedly stated on WTKA that this rule has been changed and backdating is no longer allowed. This would be bad. If Michigan experiences any attrition between now and February, they will be going into the fall down scholarships because the 25 limit tripped them up.

FWIW, I asked SID Bruce Madej about it and he said he believed that was the case; when I pinged back with that bylaw he said he had to talk to compliance.

Available Slots

Before Witty qualified and Christian committed, poster cypress put in a useful comment that counts up all the guys on scholarship next year and the recruits currently committed and came up with three open slots in a recruiting class of 23. I don't think his count is 100% correct. It includes Cone, who indicated his departure by walking on senior day. Other assumptions made:

  • Sheridan is listed, who is going to be fourth-string at best and is the son of the Giants' defensive coordinator. Chances are that family can swing tuition.
  • Kelvin Grady may or may not be guaranteed a scholarship down the road. Earlier in the year it seemed like Grady was technically a walk-on who would get scholarships if they became available.
  • It does have Kovacs.
  • It does not have Morales, Leach, or Moundros. Morales is a safe omission since he is not the starting long-snapper. The other two might be first in line if scholarships are available.
  • It assumes all fifth-years return. This is potentially dodgy in the cases of Adam Patterson and Bryan Wright.
  • It assumes no attrition before signing day.

Some or all of these may be incorrect.

Michigan is at 22 recruits and have at least three more slots with Cone's departure and the assumption that Sheridan is not on scholarship.

If the back-dating rule has not changed I think they can bring in a full 28. There are two obvious fifth-year seniors who may not be invited back if Michigan latches onto a recruit they think that can help them, and unless Michigan gets lucky there is probably going to be some attrition between now and Signing Day. If they can bring in 28 without hijinks they can take their 25 now and sit around on Signing Day attempting to snake-oil big names; if they can't they might have to…

Pull The South Carolina

If Webb is right, and he's probably getting his information from someone in the department whose job is to know these things, then Michigan is probably almost full right now and any pleasant surprises like CA RB Dillon Baxter or FL WR Kenny Shaw would necessitate someone getting put on a slow boat to either another school or a grayshirt.

Michigan did this with a couple of recruits last year. It's kind of a nasty move but the guys Michigan gave a nudge to ended up at Oklahoma State and Kansas, so they landed on their feet. I feel for Dewayne Peace, who's probably been told that his mother died because she was so disappointed in him, but "mutually parting ways" before signing day is a venial sin compared to the Alabama method.

I don't think that will or want that to happen; as you'll see in Wednesday Recruitin' a lot of the "we're totally in it for this guy from really far away!" has melted away into Michigan explicitly trailing other schools that have yet to receive officials, a situation that virtually never results in a good result. The most likely outcome for the recruiting class is that it adds Grimes and Murphy plus one other defender—Webb has a "gut feeling" on Josh Furman, FWIW—and ceases there as everyone grumbles about two more slot receivers.

Comments

los barcos

November 25th, 2009 at 12:59 PM ^

if the coaches took a lot of commits from lower ranked guys earlier in the process assuming (like last year) some would inevitably decommit. now it looks like the commits are "all in" and some guys might be on the outside looking in.

uminks

November 25th, 2009 at 1:00 PM ^

It is time for Sheridan to join the coaching staff. I would also grey shirt some kids you know who will not be contributing. May be there are some other full or partial scholarships not related to playing football. I would definitely not turn down kids with talent. This is a much better problem to have than not having talented kids interested in your program.

umhero

November 25th, 2009 at 1:17 PM ^

If a player gets any institutional money (i.e. a school sponsored scholarship), they were recruited by the football team, and play, then they count against our recruiting class. So even if they were an academic scholar, if they were recruited and play, then they count.

The only way around it seems to be if a parent or family member pays their way, or they weren't recruited. Apparently the NCAA has a distinction between "recruited and invited". A recruited player has come on recruiting visits, received frequent phone calls, and had coaches visit him. An invited player is more or less a preferred walk on who was not formally recruited.

I'm researching a diary on the subject since it seems that Alabama and Penn State have mastered the walk on rule.

Huntington Wolverine

November 25th, 2009 at 2:03 PM ^

I thought Sheridan was a preferred walk-on that earned a scholarship in the first year of the "Revolution". Didn't he have to sit out his senior year of HS due to an injury? If that's the case, couldn't he still be on the team without the scholarship?

Also, I thought there was a post on here that specified that scholarship money had to be renewed each year, not guaranteed for 4 years. Anyone else remember if that's the case?

Huntington Wolverine

November 25th, 2009 at 2:39 PM ^

It's tough to say from where I sit. I have no idea how some of last year's LB recruits have developed over the year (I don't think redshirts were getting burned for Cam, etc. unless they were hand over fist better than the juniors that were out there). I'd say Big Tex would be the bigger get just for continuity at D-Line recruiting and beefing up the line without losing quickness. That said, Furman sounds like a freak. I'd be happy with either

mgovictors23

November 25th, 2009 at 1:17 PM ^

This is going to sound bad but all the lower ranked guys we took early on are really going to hurt our recruiting. Guys like Antonio Kinard, Tony Drake, and Drew Dileo are going to stop us from getting much higher ranked guys that like us that could really help us next year.

zlionsfan

November 25th, 2009 at 1:42 PM ^

I think that was how RR had to play it. With depth being so much of a problem, we need 25 guys that can play. Yeah, it would be nice to have the best 25 guys who would commit, but ending up with 20 decent commits and 5 fill-in players would have been much more costly. (Also, scouted talent doesn't necessarily mean college talent. For all we know, there are five All-Americans in this class, and none of them are highly-rated recruits.)

Also, it's a slightly less dickish way to recruit. I don't know if that matters some, a little, or not at all, but if it does, then that would be a factor too. I'd definitely prefer this to a Saban class.

BleedingBlue

November 25th, 2009 at 1:49 PM ^

The All-Conference team was jammed with Iowa players this year. Ohio State had one first team all-conference performer. Which school gets higher ranked recruits? obviously OSU has the better record over the last several years, I'm just bringing it up because you never know. Maybe Dileo will be the best punt returner Michigan has ever had?

A bird in hand...er phonebooth... is worth two in the bush

caup

November 25th, 2009 at 1:44 PM ^

Okay, despite this maybe coming off as racist, that darty little white boy kinda reminds me of Wes Welker and Tim Dwight. I'm excited that he's going to be a Wolverine regardless of whoever else is still out there.

UMalum1997

November 25th, 2009 at 2:37 PM ^

WOW, it will be fun to watch for 4 years in Maize and Blue since Welker is amazing. (Can't believe what Miami did not see in him and thankful that he is with my beloved Patriots)

I am hoping and will be happy is Drew is someone who can add depth, push people everyday in practice and challenge for playing time by his red-shirt sophomore or junior seasons.

ShockFX

November 25th, 2009 at 1:50 PM ^

I'm somewhat irrationally excited for Dileo. He fills up the stat sheet each week. So does Carvin Johnson. Some people are just football players. Plus, given Dileo's size (5'10") and speed (4.5 rivals), I don't see how he's not higher rated with the production he puts up.

Tony Drake and Stephen Hopkins seem meh to me, but what to I know. Kinard and Williamson are virtual unknowns STILL, so who the heck knows.

Nickel

November 25th, 2009 at 2:26 PM ^

If I remember right, Dileo plays in one of the lesser divisions in Louisiana. That probably plays into the eye-popping numbers / meh ranking aspect.

Rodriguez and co. have shown they can find some diamonds in the rough. Next year we'll get to see some more of those kids who redshirted get playing time so we'll have a better idea if he's finding sleepers who can play or if they were in fact sleepers for a reason.

I'm excited with the current class and look forward to seeing them play over the next 4-5 years.

kman23

November 26th, 2009 at 2:26 AM ^

I have a feeling Dileo is being signed to be a Breaston kind of player. He will be an okay WR (#2 or #3) his Junior and Senior years but his real value will come on PR, KR, and kickoff coverage. It's worth using a scholarship on a guy who 1. doesn't drop punts (cost us 1 game at least each of the last 2 seasons) and 2. moves our average starting field position after a PR up 10-15 yards. We have a great KR in Stonum but the other KR was weak so the other team, if they aren't moronic (like Paterno kicking to Breaston with 1 minute left), kicked away from Stonum. I think Dileo, Stonum, and Robinson could make our special teams deep for the first time in... a decade?

B

November 25th, 2009 at 3:12 PM ^

There is a long time until signing day. A couple will decommit, and it won't necessarily be who people want it to be. Overall I like this class, but it is concerning that they do not have more recruits who can play in the trenches. This team needs to get bigger up front.

caup

November 25th, 2009 at 4:28 PM ^

The depth chart for the OL looks okay for now, but we will need to sign 3-4 OLs next recruting class. The average weight of our starting OL is 289. That's not too bad, but hopefully with some off-season BARWIS! the average will be up around 295 pounds of twisted blue steel, yo!

The DL is even more precarious. We need more D-linemen, like, RIGHT NOW. Our 2-deep has names like Banks and Sagesse and Watson and Heininger on it. Seriously, if Martin or Van Bergen get injured next year we could be in real trouble. And they are all too small. Van Bergen is listed at 271. Roh is 238. Heininger is 261. LaLota is 256. Wait, Banks is a 266 lb DT?
Oh Jeebus. I'm going to go think about other stuff now...

BlueGoM

November 25th, 2009 at 5:42 PM ^

You're forgetting Will Campbell. He's got plenty of size and I think his play improved as the season went on, admittedly with a much-less-than-good start (I'm thinking of the Iowa game, in particular).

If the D-line stays healthy (always a big if) we'll be just fine, I think. I think our starting D line next season will have Campbell, Martin, and Van Bergen. With Campbell in there that's a decent sized line.

We do need more d-linemen, though. Depth is very poor here. This is why I really hope we can somehow pull in Beachum in this recruting class. We have 2 DE's in this class but we need a couple big guys, a couple DT's.

Makes me wonder if one or two of the young o-linemen we have will switch to the other side.

cypress

November 25th, 2009 at 4:11 PM ^

Just to clarify, I first listed EVERYONE who would be on scholarship and then said I knew a few would not be back. I didnt list Morales because I thought he was on academic scholarship, I didnt list Leach because he is a walk-on, I didnt list Moundrous because..well, I forgot he was on scholarship. I DID include Kovacs because RR said he would be on scholarship next year. Didnt he? I am assuming guys like Cone, Patterson, Wright..maybe Sheridan wont be back so that we can meet the 85 scholly limit. I think what will happen is we will finish up with Grimes, Murphy and Furman, and if someone like Parker, Stills or Baxter wanted in, we would sign them and "sort things out" one way or another.

Logan88

November 25th, 2009 at 6:58 PM ^

Possible non-qualifiers include: Tony Drake and Antonio Kinard as neither has qualified...YET.

I'm still completely neutral on Kinard, but man, I have really come to like Tony Drake. When he first committed, I was like, "Huh?", but that little bugger has grown on me. I hope he makes it in.

UMSHOT92

November 27th, 2009 at 5:22 PM ^

just returned home from Ford Field in Detroit...and I'm not sure personally how Gardner is the #1 dual threat qb in the nation...I'll give fair due to Lowell Red Arrows (who won the game on the legs of their qb-177 rush/2td/maybe three passes the whole game? 27-6). Following all the hype, took in the game and saw an Inkster team struggle...defensively they had no answer for the belly fakes and ground out 5-10 YPC...Gardner on the other hand was sacked a number of times, threw the ball away a few opportunities, and his receivers were well defended. Using optimism for our recruit, Inkster's play calling was suspect with a focus on their own running attack. When desparation became the flavor of the day as the game wound out, they went to a modern Michigan-esque no huddle (sorry Bo...please don't hate me...)and seemed to use slant routes and sideline quicks to their advantage...but when you put the three apples in the basket...at the end of the day I'll take the Forcier and Robinson duo first every time...comparing Tate and Denard who are a year older yet facing kids much older and college level defenders vs. Gardner being older than his competition and playing against high school defenses...he looked frustrated at times, and took a lot of backside sacks...one time late in the game he was juked out of his own shoes by a screaming corner blitz...he tried to fake the defender and tripped over his own feet and fell down as the defender bit the turf...from a one game perspective I thought he should have dominated against direct and younger peers...he looked human...again, hats are off to Lowell...they had a plan and some very disciplined defenders who hit hard, played hard, and got the job done...perhaps early enrollment will shake the funk.