It's apparently that arbitrary down time in the offseason when I take a look back at Brian's recruiting profiles for the class that just finished their time at Michigan. In this case, that class is the infamous 2010 group, the last full class brought in by Rich Rodriguez during his time at Michigan.
So, uh, you've been forewarned.
I'll start with the nine offensive players in the class, five of whom were wide receivers. If that sounds like a strange and dangerous way to contruct a roster, you may be a longtime reader of this here blog. Or maybe you just watched the offensive line the last few years. Either/or, really.
We're Really Sorry About The Coaching Thing
As a Pioneer grad, I have no idea how Pioneer won this game.
By the time Brian wrote up Devin Gardner's profile, he'd already enrolled at Michigan and participated in the spring game. The comparison that came up the most in his profile—and, really, the most reasonable one to make at the time—is a pretty good indication of the level of expectation for Gardner's college career:
Why Vince Young? The combination of size, speed, a wonky throwing motion, and the multiple comparisons from gurus tips the balance over to Young, who redshirted despite being the top prospect in the country and didn't come into his own as a passer until he played Michigan in the Rose Bowl—awesome timing!
Guru Reliability: High. Ton of exposure to him. Elite 11 camp, UA game, all that stuff.
General Excitement Level: Towering. Vast. Expansive.
Gardner, of course, stayed on track—except for the cameo at wide receiver—by looking like a future star when he took the reins after Denard Robinson's injury in 2012, and while he had some disappointing outings in 2013, those were largely chalked up to the O-line and playcalling. It came off the rails last year for a host of reasons covered so thoroughly they're not worth bringing up again. Needless to say, reading through his profile leaves one with serious what-could've-been feels.
[Hit THE JUMP for Dramatic Cupcake Hopkins and, well, mostly disappointment.]
Your Running Back Class In One GIF
Stephen Hopkins also enrolled early, and after a spring game photograph caught him in a moment of serious bug-eye, the internet did its thing:
Oh, the memes of yore.
Hopkins mostly played fullback at Michigan. His most notable play came in the first Notre Dame night game, when Denard Robinson scooped up his goal-line fumble and scored to open the most insane fourth quarter in recent memory. Hopkins left the program at the end of the 2012 season, got his degree, and played a grad year at Tennessee State in 2014.
The other running back in the class, Livonia native Austin White, left the team so quickly Brian didn't even get around to writing a profile before he was gone. White had multiple run-ins with the law after transferring to Central Michigan, getting the boot there, and eventually landed at D-II Fairmont State in West Virginia.
The Threat And... Others
Michigan took five receivers in the class. Just two managed to see the field in any real capacity, and only one—not the one anybody expected—made a consistent impact.
The misses were impressive if only for their variety. DJ Williamson came to campus with serious track bona fides and, well, serious track bona fides:
Anyway, if you give DJ Williamson some lycra and maybe a baton and tell him to run in a straight line he's excellent at it. The internet shouts this on every Google results page.
When it comes to the other stuff with the helmets and the changing directions and possibly getting blasted by some other guy with a helmet, however, it's remarkably hard to find out anything.
Williamson redshirted, then announced his plans to transfer following spring practice in 2011. He ended up at Akron, where's he's still running track ... and not playing football.
Jerald Robinson spent two years gaining practice hype and destroying one parking garage gate, scattered five catches through the 2012 season, and left before the bowl game. He'd later get busted for felony drug charges that must've been reduced significantly, as he wound up on the roster at D-II Walsh University in his hometown of Canton.
The profile for Ricardo Miller, a blue chip Florida prospect early in his high school career who ended up on the 3/4-star borderline after moving to Ann Arbor Pioneer, noted he "already has a hell of a Wikipedia page." That page now features a discussion of why it was deleted:
I created this article in February 2010 when Miller was a highly-touted recruit for the Michigan football team. He received a lot of press for his high school playing career and recruitment. However, he ended up as a complete "bust" at the college level. He barely appeared in any games for Michigan and then transferred to UMass where he again failed to become a notable player. In retrospect, my creation of this article was premature.
That about covers it.
Jeremy Jackson's profile features a long aside on his seemingly star-studded offer sheet; despite being a generic three-star all the way through the process, Fred Jackson's son claimed offers from the likes of Florida, LSU, and Texas. Let's just say there's some skepticism. As for the scouting reports, they picked up on the weakness that would prevent Jackson from being more than a bit player at Michigan:
"Jackson is a big, lumbering wide receiver prospect with great size and a thick build." ...
The rest of it is more of the same: "lacks great burst," "may struggle to create separation," "mismatch in the red zone," "reliable," "excels in a crowd," etc. He gets a lot of Eckstein adjectives; the evaluation screams "son of coach"; in no way does it make it seem likely that Florida and Texas offered a kid in Michigan before his junior year is over.
Jackson didn't have the wheels to get breathing space against college defensive backs. If you wanted to create the most effective Franken-receiver in this class, Jackson's upper body on Williamson's legs wouldn't be a bad place to start.
Finally, there's Drew Dileo, who carved out a solid career as a reliable, underutilized slot receiver. Due to Dileo's token-three-star ratings and relative lack of notable offers, his commitment came under more criticism than any of the others. He took it well, then more than held up his end of the bargain:
“I know my profile isn’t as great as a lot of other kids’ around the country,” he said. “I know (Michigan) reached out there a little bit to get me. It’s not about proving anybody wrong. I just don’t want people up there to feel like I wasted a scholarship.”
Based on the 2012 MSU game alone, he definitely earned his spot.
Christian Pace is the entire 2010 Michigan offensive line recruiting class. Those of you with fingers will be able to calculate the number of offensive linemen who play at the same time, note the number of people one person is (it is one), and grimace meaningfully at the lack of people just one person is. But that's another show. This one is about the one person.
Pace looked to be the heir apparent to David Molk: an undersized, nimble, technically sound center with a great feel for the game. Unfortunately, injuries forced Pace to take a medical scholarship by the following summer, and Michigan felt the effects of its non-existent 2010 offensive line class for years to come. Hnnnnnnnnngh.