By timeless tradition, going all the way back to the very first post-Harbaugh offseason at Michigan, our people recount the story of Jake Rudock’s exodus from Iowa, update the Grand Google Sheet, and see what it can tell us about this year and the future.
Whereas, at the end of the 2014 Iowa football season Kirk Ferentz released an unprecedented post-bowl depth chart just for the sake of putting C.J. Beathard in front of most-of-the-time starter Jake Rudock. This accomplished several things: Beathard’s dad, who’d put some transfer noise in a local Tennessee paper, was placated, and the People of Rudock took the hint to grad transfer the hell out of Egypt. After wandering in the desert, the spiritual, spiritually 40-year-old Rudock was chosen by Harbaugh to lead the people of Ann Arbor to the
promised land Citrus Bowl.
In honor of the old Pharaoh’s great dick move, I present this year’s post-bowl Foe Film diagram, now with 100% more mustache.
[Click to biggen make]
I’ve also updated the great spreadsheet of players going back to the class of 1993, with all that recruiting and attrition and start data.
Use as you like—I’ll keep it updated as the offseason progresses so you can use it for diaries or fact-finding.
[Hit THE JUMP for a chart party.]
For example it can show attrition was high among Hoke’s old players but it hasn’t hurt the APR because most of those guys are leaving with degrees:
Or if you plug in some numbers you can see how many returning starts just graduated, and how little experience is coming back.
That’s before attrition, i.e. with Peppers returning, and Clark getting a 6th year, and no more attrition among guys with a few starts (Kugler, Ways, Harris, JBB) who are near to getting their degree and likely to be passed on the depth chart by younger players. It also includes Newsome, whom a lot of people think might not be able to play this year. On the other hand it’s overstated, as Rashan Gary, Khalid Hill, and Tyree Kinnell have played extensively, and Maurice Hurst is a returning starter in all but the official box score.
That’s still extraordinarily low. If Newsome doesn’t make it back this year (my impression just from what’s been publicized about his injury) the 2017 team is functionally looking at between 125 and 150 starts worth of returning experience, with just Mason Cole among players with more than a season under his belt. That’s a hole that takes two years to climb out of: the only time they were ever under 200 was Rodriguez’s first season.
This happened for many reasons: Hoke’s classes had low attrition until many of them grad transferred, allowing the last few teams to get relatively old together. The classes of 2014 (when Hoke had few spots to fill and had lost his momentum) and 2015 (that Harbaugh had just a month to put together) were really small. Then some guys who could have gone pro stuck around for what looked to be a special season. And as Harbaugh guys seized playing time a few hangers on got their degrees and ceded scholarships back to the pool, which Harbaugh filled with back-to-back massive classes.
As a result Michigan goes into 2017 with just 30-ish players old enough to buy a beer:
projected based ~30 new guys and normal attrition
That doesn’t mean next year will be THAT bad: 2008 was special in ways that aren’t applicable to Harbaugh’s third year, and Ohio State made it to the playoffs this season with a roster nearly as green as Michigan will be. It almost assuredly means they’ll take a step back, and that 2018 will be better.
Table of stars
We can also see how recruiting has gone under Michigan’s coaches in the modern era. Since Carr took over as head coach after the 1995 class was signed, and because reliable recruiting data don’t exist before anyway, I started him off with 1996. Not sure if the mouseover will work on every computer but if it does you can look who’s counted in each grouping. (UPDATE: they work if you’re on a computer and visit the sheet.)
Which do matter
Fate of Michigan recruits 1996-2014 by star rating. Perfect trend lines ruined by Dave Harris. pic.twitter.com/Ef1V9wn4Ku
— Seth M. Fisher (@Misopogon) January 3, 2017
I put it in a tweet because I followed with some stuff about the dichotomy between the 4.5-stars and the consensus 5-stars. My method for stars is to try to convert all sites’ rankings and ratings into a sliding 5-star scale and average them together. The 4.5-stars are Top 100 types: the 5.9s to Rivals or mid-90s to 247. Michigan’s hit rate on those guys has been indistinguishable from that of the standard 4-stars. Gardner, Manningham, and the best offensive guard of all time are in there, but it was super hit and miss. For example out of five cornerbacks in that range the only two to see the field with regularity were Donovan Warren and James Whitley. The super 5-stars on the other hand were just about can’t-miss, the exceptions being Pat Massey and literally half of every 5-star running back in the country to not work out.