Ranking The Rankers: 2011 Class Comment Count

Brian January 19th, 2016 at 1:53 PM

I was curious as to how the various recruiting sites made out with their rankings now that all four services have been around long enough. 247 was just starting up in 2011 and had some rankings but not the depth of the other services, which may have helped them since this class was… uh… not good.

No significant differences


Mid-to-low three stars: Russell Bellomy, Thomas Rawls, Tamani Carter, Greg Brown, Tony Posada, Jack Miller, Chris Rock, Keith Heitzman, Frank Clark, Desmond Morgan.

Sites were bang on with most of these. Clark was the biggest miss but he was 210 pounds in high school. You can see why that was a miss. Morgan and Rawls probably should have been ranked in the four-star range if we're going on overall ability, even if Rawls didn't make an impact at Michigan. FWIW, I grabbed Morgan as my sleeper of the year. This was the second-best choice behind Clark.

Gol-dang this was a sad recruiting class.

Not Applicable: Antonio Poole redshirted and was struck down by an injury immediately afterwards.

1008_bisp_Hayes[1]Justice Hayes

Hayes was kind of a big deal, cracking the Rivals 100 and landing just outside of the Scout and 247 top 100 lists. ESPN had him as a four star but an unranked one, significantly lower than the other services.

Hayes never got much run at Michigan and was the only back to transfer away from Late Fred Jackson and not blow up. He had 52 carries for 204 yards at Southern Miss last year. He was overrated by everyone, some more than others.

1st: ESPN
2nd (T): Scout, 247
4th: Rivals

Chris Bryant

Bryant was an enormous pile-moving guard out of Chicago who fielded intermittent practice hype but could not lock down a starting spot; he eventually had an injury-forced retirement.

Still, in retrospect there was enough of a scouting difference to include him. Rivals rated him a four-star, the #203 player in the country, and as an offensive tackle. All other sites rated him a three-star guard, with ESPN the most skeptical.

1st: Scout, 247, ESPN
4th: Rivals

15669920069_72ab42f97b_zBrennen Beyer

Everybody liked Beyer enough to rank him as a four star but there was a decided split. Scout placed him in their top 100. Rivals and 247 both had him around 200th nationally; ESPN ranked him significantly below everyone else.

Beyer went on to have a solid career, one in which he was frequently miscast by his coaches whether by inane choice or necessity. He was a starter, but not a particularly notable one. Unranked four-star seems about right.

1st: ESPN
2nd(T): Rivals, 247
4th: Scout

Kellen Jones

Jones didn't make it to his first game as a Wolverine, embarking on a vagabond journey unparalleled in the history of Michigan recruits. He never made an impact at Michigan, Oklahoma, Clemson, or Wisconsin.

Scout gave him a fourth star; Rivals and ESPN middling three-star rankings. A nascent 247 did not rank him at all.

1st: 247
2nd: Rivals, ESPN
4th: Scout

15064895344_674a21d680_zRaymon Taylor

Michigan actually had to flip Taylor from Indiana after Brady Hoke came aboard; he was slotted in at cornerback and became a three-year starter. He was not drafted and never received any sort of all conference recognition and is thus hard to judge. If you knew what Raymon Taylor's career was going to be like, how would you rate him?

I'm guessing low four star, which is exactly what Rivals said. Scout and 247 said mid-to-high three, which is also an acceptable answer. ESPN was incorrectly harsh, labeling him the #95 ATH in the country.

1st: Rivals
2nd(T): Scout, 247
4th: ESPN

Delonte Hollowell

The diminutive Hollowell got some run as a nickel corner but was most famous for tweeting in all caps; he was just too small to have major impact. ESPN ranked him the #15 CB in the class and a four star; everyone else said three but there was reasonable spread. Rivals said #25 CB, Scout #40, and 247 didn't give him a positional rating.

1st: 247
2nd: Scout
3rd: Rivals
4th: ESPN

14976242848_7f97fb30b9_zBlake Countess

I'm punting on Countess. Is he the guy who was All Big Ten as a sophomore playing zone? Or is he the guy who Will Fuller ran away from over and over again? If Michigan had stuck with the coverage Countess ran early in his career he would have seemed like a much better player; alas for his sake, they did not.

He was a four star to everyone with rankings ranging from #133 (Rivals) to outside the top 300 (ESPN), both of which are correct and incorrect.


What have we learned?

Mostly that a post like this isn't interesting when most of the class falls into the generic three-star range. Also that the transitional Hoke/Rodriguez class was incredibly sad.

Points for recruits on which there was sufficient data and difference of opinion to rank:

247: 12.5
ESPN: 9.5
Scout: 7
Rivals: 7

This is an incredibly small sample size and if you draw conclusions from it the statistics gremlins will spank you in your sleep.


The FannMan

January 19th, 2016 at 2:05 PM ^

Countess was Auburn's Defensive player of the year.  So I guess he did OK there too.

He also got trucked by Fournette in the only Auburn game I watched for more than 3 seconds.


January 19th, 2016 at 3:53 PM ^

Glad to hear you are going to do more of this, Brian.


It would be that much more interesting if you could get some of your fellow bloggers following other programs to do the same thing.


I mostly care about what the 'M' related sites are able to deliver on our guys.  But if there is systematic outsized suckiness at one of the services that is analytically observable, that would be worth seeing.



January 19th, 2016 at 4:56 PM ^

So, isn't the obvious issue here coaching? Hopefully player development under Harbaugh will be better than Hoke (early results are promising), but someone could be a great prospect and not turn out due to coaching - kind of like Countess. Would Josh Garnett be the monster OL that he is if he came here?


January 20th, 2016 at 10:22 AM ^

I think it is a bit of both talent and coaching. Some of the guys were limited physically (Bryant, Bellomy, Taylor, Morgan, Heitzman) and others just didn't develop or kept moving around (Beyer, Rawls, Hayes, Hollowell). Being a transitional class, you don't expect a ton of talent to be coming in. Still, out of 20 guys, only 3-4 were starters by their senior years and over a quarter left the program.

Mmmm Hmmm

January 20th, 2016 at 9:42 AM ^

If you are going to do this again, perhaps a different scoring methodology would make sense. Instead of 1st-4th (with ties allowed) perhaps a five-item scale (hey, it works for evaluating recruits!) for how close or far each service was, and give points on a curve. The top grade could be dead on, and (say) eight points, while a completely inaccurate prediction (like a top-100 who isn't injured but never sees the field and transfers to DIII) would be either zero or a small magnitude negative. This approach allows multiple sites to be rewarded if they were close but not tied, while punishing (in score, at least) those that completely whiffed.

Also, it would be interesting to know if there are any trends in over- or under-ranking. I'm guessing the sample size is too small even with multiple years given the number of unknown or difficult to quantify variables, but if something jumps out...

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Go Blue Eyes

January 19th, 2016 at 2:44 PM ^

Somebody shoud create one of those "Hitler finds out..." videos.  Hitler finds out the Class of 2011 sucks but says not to worry about it because the 2010 class was so strong that it would easily make up for the 2011 class shortcomings.


January 19th, 2016 at 2:49 PM ^

Maybe I am wrong (would not be first time) but I am under the impression that that 247 and its personel are being feature more often on Mgoblog, especially on podcasts and was wondering if this study has anything to do with that?



Great work as always


January 19th, 2016 at 6:41 PM ^

did some (or maybe several) of these players get bumped up to 4-star status by certain recruiting sites in large part simply because Michigan was recruiting them?  It's widely believed that players get a bump when schools like Alabama offer them, if only because 1) evaluating these kids is an inexact science, 2) there typically isn't much difference between a low-4 and a high-3 star recruit, and 3) some of these kids don't get seen a lot so the sites have to use whatever data points are available, including potential suitors.  It's a plausible theory as far as Alabama is concerned, so is Michigan getting the same consideration too?

In my mind it makes some sense - Michigan is one of the most storied programs in CFB and has a long history of success, so clearly they know what they're doing.  In 2011 Hoke was still largely an unkown quantity, but given that he was at Michigan he would get the benefit of the doubt so the players he and his staff recruited must be pretty good, right?  

For the record I have no idea what other top tier schools recruited any of these guys(with at least some enthusiasm) but is it possible these players weren't really as good as people thought?

Not trying to start a flame war, just curious what people with more knowledge of M's program think.

G Money

January 20th, 2016 at 12:35 AM ^

Made all-freshmen team for Big Ten and by ESPN.

Injury gods plucked our best secondary prospect.

Recovered to be all big ten. Your Zone comment really has no bearing. If Charles Woodson played zone, would he be any worse of a player. The chioce to play zone or man is based on coaches decision, not necessarily talent at corner. Josh Norman and Luke Kuechley often drop back in zone coverage and are 2 of the best defensive players in the league... And all-pro.

Countess finished up his career as the defensive player of the year for an SEC team that was ranked #6 in the preseason. Did they underperform? Yes. 

Was it because of Blake Countess? N.O.


2011 was Rich/Hoke scramble class. Snagging Clark was a coup. The class certainly does not have much to crow about, but then again, Rich started the year coming off 8-16, no bowl games for 2 seasons, and closed the recruiting period to two of the worst  consecutive losses in memory. 

Hoke needed a Haz-Mat suit and a pooper scooper before hitting the recruiting trail.