Recruits In Retrospect: 2009 Offense Comment Count

Ace June 24th, 2014 at 3:06 PM

Gallon's levitation skills translated to the college game just fine.

Previously: 2008 Offense2008 Defense2009 Defense, 2009 Quarterbacks

Finishing out the series looking back on the 2009 recruiting class, here's a look at the non-quarterback offensive players, as described in Brian's recruiting posts of yore. But first...

My Bad, Cam

While I remembered to include then-OL, future-NT Quinton Washington on the defensive side of the ball, I forgot to do the same for Cam Gordon, the future defensive positional nomad who came to Michigan with most recruiting services considering him a wide receiver. As Gordon's recruitment wore on, it became more clear that his best spot may actually be in the defensive back seven, and thus we got one of the odder player comps I've seen:

Jason Avant, or maybe Prescott Burgess

Why Avant or Burgess? Bulky 6'2" wide receiver who will push 215 and lacks deep speed == Avant. Rangy linebacker who needs to put on 20 pounds, switch positions (sort of) and probably struggle with the mental part of being a college linebacker for a while == Burgess.

Free safety wasn't mentioned, because only an insane, desperate person would put a player matching that profile on the last line of defen--AAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIGGGGHHHHHH. (Thank you, Denard, forever and always.)

Gordon ended his career as a backup outside linebacker and situational defensive end. Fire Tony Gibson again, just in case.

The Blue Darter

As for prospects who actually ended up at receiver, Michigan had two: consensus top-200 prospect Je'Ron Stokes, and a high school single-wing quarterback who—despite being an Army All-American—earned four-star status on just one site due to his diminutive stature.


Though everyone pegged Jeremy Gallon as a pure slot ninja—he'd prove to be much more, obviously—the eye-opening highlights and strong Army week performance earned him plenty of hype:

Gallon is a Swiss Army knife of a player: pocket-sized, versatile, capable of surprising feats, and… uh… hard to tackle. (If you've ever tried to tackle a Swiss Army knife you know what I'm talking about. They're pointy.) It's hard to envision a scenario in which one of his diverse and sundry talents doesn't find him on the field, if not this fall than next.

Brian, I'd like to hear more about your past attempts to ... tackle ... pocket knives.

As for Stokes...

When Je'Ron Stokes committed to Michigan I was in an airport about to board a plane for Egypt by way of Germany, and as soon as he did I logged off and forgot all about him. Ever since when something reminds me of that commitment, it's like a weird bonus: oh, yeah, that universally-praised wide receiver in the class I never remember. He's like a ghost recruit.

Yeah, that was for the best.

Oh Damn, Fitz

From 2008-09, I worked as an intern at The Wolverine, and one of my primary tasks during football season was posting the stats of Michigan's commits each week. A back from Ohio's Division V Youngstown Liberty by the name of Fitzgerald Toussaint committed a few months before I got that job, so week after week that fall I'd look up his stats, bug out my eyes, and get incrementally more excited for him to see the field at U-M:

Fitzgerald Toussaint, Youngstown Liberty: Senior RB and Michigan recruit went over 250 yards for the seventh week in a row in a 33-28 win over Hubbard. After generating 16 yards on four carries in the first half, Toussaint erupted for 235 yards in the second half and scored two TDs. He has 1,950 yards in eight games.

He'd finish the season with over 2,200 yards and 28 touchdowns. Between those numbers and his excellently soundtracked highlights, I thought he'd be the next great Michigan running back:

That wasn't to be, at least in large part for reasons outside his control, but when remembering where Toussaint came from...

It wasn't all flowers and 90-yard touchdowns for Toussaint, though. His dad—also named Fitzgerald Toussaint—ended up in jail after stabbing his ex-wife's boyfriend… at a football scrimmage. Nasty business.

...I'd say 32 career starts, graduating from U-M, and getting a shot to make an NFL roster constitutes a very successful college career.

Vincent Smith's profile started out with similar recounting of a tough upbringing in Pahokee, then mostly waffled between excitement about his highlights/fit in the scheme and trepidation about his size, which was the subject of an awkwardly written ESPN scouting report:

ESPN says Smith lacks size "on paper"—which uh what about real life too—and says he runs "low to the ground," as if he has a choice.

Sadly, no mention of fingerguns or being a heat-seeking, defender-destroying missile.

Michigan rounded out a three-man running back class with Cass Tech product Teric Jones, who recorded the fastest time at the Army combine after his junior year but didn't receive much at all in the way of recruiting hype. By the time he got to campus the coaches were already considering a position switch:

In fact, Michigan might be shooting Jones into lots of space as a slot receiver. Rodriguez said Jones was a slot receiver who "may also get reps at running back" at the signing day press conference, and Jones did have some nice receiving numbers as a junior: 24 catches for 306 yards.

Jones ended up playing special teams as a true freshman, bounced between running back and cornerback as the thin roster dictated need, then left the team and went on medical scholarship before the 2011 season after a sophomore-year knee injury.

If You Just Take Two Linemen... might as well make them NFL linemen, and that's exactly what happened with U-M's 2009 O-line class of Taylor Lewan and Michael Schofield. Lewan, especially, was quite the steal; he was a total unknown until moving from defensive line to offensive line before his senior season, then vaulted into the top 300 recruits on all three recruiting services and played in the Under Armour AA Game in his first year playing the position. Michigan had a nice in with Lewan—his teammate at Chaparral High, Craig Roh, had been committed to U-M for months when Lewan decided to also head to Ann Arbor. 

While this usually doesn't happen, Lewan's high school coach ended up giving the most accurate forecast of his player's potential:

“Michigan is getting, in my opinion, the steal of this year's recruiting class in the country,” Ragle said. “I know that's a bold statement to make, (but) this kid’s ability on the field won't be questioned. He's as good an athlete on the offensive line as I've ever seen.


"He's as good athletically as any guy I have ever coached," Ragle said. "The thing that makes him so special is his upside when you think he's only been coached at the position for about eight months. But the one intangible that's most impressive is his nastiness --Taylor wants to burry [sic] someone on every play, and you can't coach that."

On point, Coach Ragle.

Schofield's rankings were in a similar range as Lewan's after a strong senior season. What stood out about him most was his athleticism—which translated to the college game, as he seamlessly transition from being Michigan's best pulling guard to a nimble pass-protector at tackle—and considering he's now 6'7" and 300+ pounds this is rather astounding:

In his first two years at Sandburg, Schofield ran the 110 high hurdles for the Eagles’ track team, winning a conference title his freshman year and finishing second his sophomore season. He also moved up to the varsity team for the state tournament during his sophomore year, finishing sixth in sectionals.

Unfortunately, there's no video of this, as the age of someone-on-a-smartphone-will-film-literally-anything hadn't hit yet.

So, with that exercise out of the way, who's ready to go over the 2010 class?


On second thought, let's save that for next summer. Or perhaps never. Leaning towards never.



June 24th, 2014 at 3:12 PM ^

Just curious because I didn't follow recruiting as much back then, but did UM ever really go after CJ Olaniyan?  He seems like a decent player, and had a pretty decent recruiting profile.  He obviously went to PSU, but just wondering why UM or MSU missed out on him?


June 24th, 2014 at 3:23 PM ^

I think Olaniyan and Zettel in the following class were cases of kids who would probably commit to Michigan if not for all the negativity surrounding the program while Rodriguez was coach.  If you look over the 2009, 2010, and 2011 classes you can see a big dip in the number of Michigan HS players who ended up at Michigan.


June 24th, 2014 at 3:31 PM ^

I don't know about Olaniyan, but Zettel was a direct casualy of "the process".  Zettel was considered a Michigan lock but he committed while Rodriguez was a lame duck twisting in the wind.  I have no problem assuming that Hoke would have easily gotten him in the class if he had been hired in late November like he should have been. 


June 24th, 2014 at 3:30 PM ^

That's an excellent offensive class.  Between Denard, Tate, Gallon, Lewan, Schofield, Fitz, and Smith, we live off of that class for a few years. 


June 24th, 2014 at 3:35 PM ^

I like the link to 247 for the 2010 class - it has a Ricardo Miller from Dr. Phillips (Orlando, FL) listed as Tight End, 6' 4" 225 lbs who enrolled 7/6/2010, and a Ricardo Miller from Pioneer (Ann Arbor, MI), listed as a WR at 6' 2" 208 lbs who enrolled 6/30/2010.


Zone Left

June 24th, 2014 at 4:13 PM ^

2010 recruiting class roundup:


Discussion of Devin Gardner's career.



June 24th, 2014 at 4:17 PM ^

Demar Dorsey could have been a redshirted senior this year. Man, that would have been really nice to have at safety for 2014, oh well. He most likely would have never redshirted anyways with how bad our defense was back then. Would have been cool though.

Mr. Yost

June 24th, 2014 at 5:57 PM ^

Rich Rod recruited 2 lineman in this class (3 if you count Q)...and then followed it up with a full 5 guys, right?


Rich Rod said F the OL. We're taking one guy.

Christian Pace. You're it.

lol - that literally says ALL we need to know.

Mr Miggle

June 25th, 2014 at 12:08 PM ^

2. He took six in the previous class, due to a glaring lack of bodies.

That's nine in two classes. Only taking one in 2010 was obviously a mistake, but ten over three classes isn't really out of whack. The biggest problem was not addressing the need in 2011. Of course that was at least partly due to the process. It illustrates how difficult it can be to address roster imbalances, especially at positions where it's hard to plug in young players. That's why taking two or three more OL in 2012 could have led to more problems down the road.

Mr Miggle

June 25th, 2014 at 3:49 PM ^

are apparently planning to take two again in this class. The pattern is repeating itself.

I think most coaches want about 15 scholarship OL on the roster. That's what we have now if you count Burzynkski. 20 is certainly too many. Considering the very high rate of redshirting, you should be aiming for a little more than three per class, before accounting for attrition.


June 25th, 2014 at 4:51 PM ^

We had such big classes in 2012 and 2013 we took a lot of linemen. Now with smaller classes we can't afford to take that many. It may level out because of the ones who didn't redshirt and attrition possiblly. If not we may have a cycle of having young lines every couple of years. I have confidence in the coaching staff leveling out the class size as well as the number of linemen in the classes or I'd be more worried.

I'll be a lot happier if I see class sizes level out.

Mr. Yost

June 24th, 2014 at 6:08 PM ^

All in one class...

  1. Demar Dorsey
  2. Cullen Christian
  3. Josh Furman
  4. Marvin Robinson
  5. Ricardo Miller
  6. Jerald Robinson
  7. Richard Ash
  8. Kenny Wilkins
  9. Christian Pace
  10. Davion Rogers
  11. Carvin Johnson
  12. Terry Talbott
  13. Jordan Paskorz
  14. Austin White
  15. Stephen Hopkins
  16. Antonio Kinard
  17. D.J. Williamson
  18. Ray Vinopal
  19. Cornelius Jones

Are you guys seeing this? Am I seeing this? This is awful, flat out AWFUL. Next time the Rich Rod sympathy starts oozing...just remember this 19 and focus on the present.


June 24th, 2014 at 6:33 PM ^

You would almost have to try to make a recruiting class that abysmal. The 2010 recruiting class basically netted 1 good player - Devin Gardner. Everyone else busted or was meh. This actually makes me pumped for the 2014 season as Hoke has been recruiting very well and his players are starting to grow into the system. As long as Hoke gets to 8 or 9 wins, things should be fine.


June 24th, 2014 at 7:26 PM ^


It explains everything that has happened. The fact we played as well as we did last year ( in every game but MSU and KSU) with this class portends promise in the future.


June 25th, 2014 at 12:26 PM ^

in 2010 and 2011 because of the outside issues should look at where his 2015 Arizona class is going after a successful year on the field.


I realize the class isn't completed but he has 14 people committed. Eleven of them are three star (most of them seem to be lightly regarded three stars too) and two are two stars.

I know the recruiting services can be wrong. I have a hard time believing he has found that many hidden gems. Yes he can coach them up but talent is talent.


June 25th, 2014 at 12:38 PM ^

There were seven 4 star players and a 17th ranked class national, 2nd best in the B1G! A team like Iowa would die for this type of recruiting class.  Michigan failure has been player development and retention.

Mr. Yost

June 25th, 2014 at 3:16 PM ^

it was THAT bad.

Rich Rod was in his 3rd year...he was not new to Michigan. He knew damn well half those guys wouldn't get into admissions. If not, he was rightfully fired because I not a head football coach at Michigan, never have been and never will be and even I know that.

It's Michigan. Not WVU. PERIOD.

Just like it's Arizona, not Stanford. PERIOD.

The fact that many of these guys didn't fit the culture, didn't like the weather, got home sick, etc. isn't a shock as well.

Sure, there are exceptions. Just like in the previous years. We all thought JT Turner was going to be a BEAST. But there were also a ton of "whoa, whoa, whoa" warnings.

Most admissions will give you a pass or two. Not 10.

No matter how you cut it, this was AWFUL. I don't care about star ratings, coaches shouldn't be looking at star ratings the way fans do.

Coaches should be evaluating talent and finding the proper fit for the program and the University. He failed in that regard. This is abysmal.


June 25th, 2014 at 9:11 AM ^

Does anyone have the video of Gallon (with his h.s. letter jacket on) on his visit to Michigan just after he committed? He did a little tour of the facilities with other recruits then walked down the tunnel and tapped the 'Hold the rope" thing. Then he went into the stadium and made snow angels in the snow. I think one of his family members can be heard saying it was the first time Jeremy had seen snow.

That video basically made the case for Jeremy in my eyes. After that point I could've cared less about his size.


June 25th, 2014 at 11:05 AM ^

Props to Brian for being high on him from the beginning, though of course he turned out to be much more than a slot ninja -- one of the best, most productive wideouts ever to wear the winged helmet, and that's saying a lot. You would've thought the coaching change from RichRod's spread to the Hoke/Borges pro-style would've really hurt any chance Gallon had to be a standout player at Michigan, but if anything it actually helped by giving him the chance to prove he could play out wide. Funny how things work out sometimes.


June 25th, 2014 at 11:06 AM ^

Props to Brian for being high on him from the beginning, though of course he turned out to be much more than a slot ninja -- one of the best, most productive wideouts ever to wear the winged helmet, and that's saying a lot. You would've thought the coaching change from RichRod's spread to the Hoke/Borges pro-style would've really hurt any chance Gallon had to be a standout player at Michigan, but if anything it actually helped by giving him the chance to prove he could play out wide. Funny how things work out sometimes.


June 25th, 2014 at 12:28 PM ^

We seem to fail on retention and player development. Michigan has had top 20 ranked classes for all but two years since 2000 and that would be 2000 and 2011. We should be a much better team then we are. We should be the 2nd best team in the B1G. I guess starting with Carr recruiting was not used ot build depth and when Carr left we had problems with retention. We became young on the line, like during RR first year. But RR had some good OL talent which never was developed. To me, recruiting wise, Michigan has been one of the most under achieving team in the country during the past 10 season.