Note: all ratings used will be via Rivals
Quarterback: With an unproven Steven Threet and walk-on Nick Sheridan as the only returning QB's with experience, this position was critical this year. Originally, Michigan took care of this with both Kevin Newsome (now at Penn State) and Shav'd Beaver (Tulsa???). However, the finished product is the accurate CA QB Tate Forcier (#5 dual threat), and FL ATH Denard Robinson (#14 ATH). Both QB's appear to have a high upside and can throw. Mission accomplished here. GRADE: A
Running Back: There was a moderate need here with Grady, Minor, and Brown all entering their last year. McGuffie and Horn were also victims of attrition. Ohio's Fitz Toussaint (#8 all-purpose back) was a solid pick-up and produced monster senior year. Michigan also picked up a couple of smaller, speedy type guys in MI RB Teric Jones and FL RB Vince Smith, the latter of whom will really need to hit the weight room hard. Decent class here. GRADE: B
Wide Receiver: There was a need for at least one slot guy in this class and that need was taken care of with FL ATH Jeremy Gallon (#11 ATH). Gallon will need to put on some weight and there are questions as to his eligibility, but he should be fine. Outside WR was also a pressing need with JR Hemmingway and Toney Clemons being unproven. Greg Matthews is more suited to be a #2 WR and is also a senior. MN WR Bryce McNeal seemed to fit the bill, but he defected to Clemson. DeWayne Peace also did not stick. However, on Signing Day, Michigan picked up big recruit in PA's Je'ron Stokes. Stokes defected from Tennessee after months of being committed there. MI WR Cam Gordon (#36 WR) provides depth or maybe another big body at LB. Solid class here. GRADE: B+
Offensive Line: Despite picking up six commits in 2008, it was still important to gain at least 2 or 3 more kids to help take care of depth issues. Michigan did this with AZ OT Taylor Lewan (#16 OT) and IL OT Michael Schofield (#18 OT). The day before signing day, Michigan also snatched up SC OG Quinton Washington (#8 OG) from under South Carolina's noses. A very nice class here. GRADE: A-
Defensive End: This position was, along with QB, the main priority in the 2009 class and Michigan didn't disappoint. AZ DE Craig Roh (#7 WDE) brings in some mad pass rushing skills/moves. NJ DE Anthony LaLota (#11 SDE) is another very athletic kid, but will need some fine-tuning as he is very raw. One more DE would have been nice (I'm thinking about you, Sam Montgomery), but with Brandon Graham staying for a senior year, two should be alright. GRADE: A
Defensive Tackle: MI DT William Campbell scared Michigan fans everywhere after de-committing, then removing Michigan from his short list. All this, after over a year of being committed, led to him...committing again at the Army All-American game. Campbell is a high level recruit (#5 DT) and is a five star, blue chipper. However, this class suffers from the loss of DeQuinta Jones and Pearlie Graves. A second DT could really have been used, as this is possibly the least deep position on the entire team now. The grade suffers some because of that. GRADE: C+ (THIS IS NOT AN INDICTMENT OF CAMPBELL, WHO I FEEL WILL BE AN AMAZING ASSET).
Line Backers: This position struggled during 2009. However, Obi Ezeh and Jonas Mouton were only sophomores. Here's hoping they get better. That being said, only half of last years four LB recruits are even still around. More LB's were needed. Jordan Barnes de-committed, perhaps because Rich Rodriguez softened on him. OH LB Isaiah Bell (#26 OLB) is a nice pick-up. FL LB Brandin Hawthorne (#35 OLB) is undersized and is a major project with a lot of athletic upside. FL S Mike Jones (#25 S) is also likely to be a LB in college. Mediocre group, but potential is there. GRADE: C+
Safeties: With Angry Michigan Safety Hating God looming around every corner, safeties are always in need. FL S Vlad Emilien (#14 S) is a good pick-up, but did suffer a major knee injury in high school. MI ATH Thomas Gordon provides depth here. However, he was a HS QB who will need to learn to play defense. He is a big player and could have some upside. Not a terrible class here, especially with OH DB Justin Turner expecting to play a little bit of safety as well. GRADE: B
Corner Backs: Speaking of Turner, for the third year in a row, Michigan was able to haul in an elite corner prospect. Turner (#3 S) could start off as the slot corner and may see time at both corner and safety, i.e. Marlin Jackson. Michigan also brings in FL CB Adrian Witty. Witty is the lowest rated prospect in this class and is recovering from a knee injury. At the very least, he provides depth, special teams player, a practice body, and brings another QB with him in Robinson. Turner makes this class. GRADE: A-
Kicker: With KC Lopata on his way out and Bryan Wright hurt, Anthony Fera committed to Michigan to fill the void at kicker. However, he left for Penn State. FL K Brendan Gibbons (#8 K) brings a big leg and fills the class need here. GRADE: B (I'd feel weird giving any higher grade to kickers here)
OVERALL: B+/A- I'm not sure which grade to give here. The class filled needs at QB and DE. More skill and speed was found. However, it could have used more LB and DT. All in all, I'll take this class.
WHAT IT MEANS FOR 2010: Obviously, DT and LB are the top priorities for next year. WR is taken care of, barring defections, as Ricardo Miller and Jeremy Jackson have pledged to Michigan. Here are the players M has offered so far:
QB: Devin Gardner, Christian Green, Robert Bolden. Keep an eye out for an offer to Je'ron Stokes' brother Malik as well.
RB: Corey Brown, Austin White, Brennan Clay (Tate's teammate)
WR: Chris Dunkley, Dejoshua Johnson (plus 2 committed WRs)
TE: CJ Fiedorowicz
OL: Seantral Henderson, Robert Crisp, Matt James
DT: Jay Guy
DE: Darryl Baldwin, William Gholston
LB: Austin Gray
S: Marvin Robinson
CB: Cullen Christian, Lo Wood, Dior Mathis (Cass Tech)
Here is a great link if you're interested in further exploring the 2010 class: http://www.umvarsityblue.com/2010/index.php
If you made it this far, thanks for reading. GO BLUE!!